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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Humorous Dialogue

Wordplay itself is not usually funny, only clever, unless it is attached to some other psychological force in the narrative…Most of the humor I'm interested in has to do with awkwardness: the makeshift theater that springs up between people at really awkward times…Bad jokes may be an expression of that awkwardness, without being inherently funny themselves. Of course, in including humor in a narrative a writer isn't doing anything especially artificial. Humor is just part of the texture of human conversation and life. In real life people are always funny. [Example: In an episode of the British TV crime series "DCI Banks" a male detective is surprised to find one of his female colleagues smoking outside the police station. "You're smoking," he says. " You're not so bad yourself," she replies.]

Lorrie Moore, The Paris Review, Spring/Summer 2001 

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