Writing Comedy vs. Heavy Subjects by Karen Vaughan

I find it easier to write funny over something serious. I have always been a smart-ass and it comes across in my LAURA AND GERRY series as well as my stand alone DEAD COMIC STANDING. Both my protagonists and my villains have wicked senses of what’s funny so it is interesting to see them face off.
Take the Kangaroo court scene between Leena and Laura:
“If I may address the court, your Honor;  My co defendant and I choose to plead not guilty. However, as we know you to be my co defendant’s sister we request that you excuse yourself from the trial.
“And why would that be?”  Julie was looking every bit the diva in her designer duds and four-inch heels.
“Fair trial in front of a jury of our peers, but what we are lacking is an unbiased judge; not exactly what you would call an even playing field is it?”

“I never said it was going to be fair. You’re guilty of sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. Your co-defendant is charged with being a traitor, turning against her own sister and daddy like that, all out of jealousy of course.  Delroy found out the hard way that you don’t mess with family like that. Jackie is taking a lot longer to get the point. She will, as will you and dear Sandy.”
“Yes dear Sandy,” I interrupted. “His only crime was falling for someone of his own age group.  You’re just pissed that you’re out of the loop.”
“His crime is alienation of affection and adultery.  He was schlepping the old bag while married to me!”
“You had an open marriage! He gave you money to spend as you please, free reign to do whatever and whomever you pleased, which in the real world gave him free reign to follow his own interests. If he happened to find a kindred spirit as he put it, it’s not your place to say who he spent time with. That old bag as you so ineloquently put it was a sweet eighty-four year old who loved the shopping channel, playing canasta and lawn bowling. She cross-stitched samplers for her friends.  She and Sandy were involved with several philanthropic projects to help the poor and infirm in the city.  They didn’t have the time to fool around as you so gracelessly implied.  You wouldn’t know this because you were too busy spending your husband’s money on expensive bling, when there are so many people in Toronto don’t have food on the table or a roof over their heads.  What you did was totally reprehensible!”
Judge Julie laughed at me here. “Since when is shopping a crime?”
“No, not shopping per se; your crime was hiring a man to do the job for you. You didn’t have the proverbial stones to kill Mrs. Peterson, woman to woman. No, you got a man to go beat a defenseless woman while she ate her cereal.  Yes, members of the jury, the deceased was found face down in a bowl of wheat squares!” A collective gasp was uttered from the gallery.  I had the jury eating out of my hands.
“Someone want to bring the court back to order and kindly shut the defendant up?”

Jackie was right beside me. “You go girl.”
My abductor stood up, ready to put me in my place. I turned on him. “Want another can of whoop ass friend?” I raised my knee to show him I was ready for round two. He backed off somewhat quickly.
I have so much fun writing funny stuff that I sometimes get carried away. I have to ask myself. How much is too much humor? Is there a balance between comic relief in a tense situation or can writers get away with non-stop humor if the story calls for it?
People always say write what you know. I should write my account of my mental health situation but there would still be a lot of humor. If it weren’t for sarcasm and attitude I would need therapy and bail money.


2 thoughts on “Writing Comedy vs. Heavy Subjects by Karen Vaughan

  1. I think you manage to find the right blend of humor and drama. Some authors take the humor too far and it detracts from the story. I use “Romeo and Juliet” as my comic/ dramatic wand. If you see it presented with the right cast & director, it’s hysterically funny, but that makes the dramatic moments like Mercutio & Tybalt’s deaths and the suicides of R&J more poignant.

  2. Pingback: Writing Comedy vs. Heavy Subjects by Karen Vaughan | Dellani Oakes

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