My Mocha Whip Introduction to Writing Humour
Write something funny, he says. Just be funny, he commands. Do you know what is funny? Paying $649 for a course on how to write humour and being told just to do it. I made my course outline and plan to charge less. As a bonus, it will include field trips and delicious treats. Sign up soon; it is bound to fill up faster than a cup of dark roast.
Week one, we start at Starbucks. Grab a double pump, half skinny, 171-degree soy milk latte, hold the soy. Grab a pen and paper and hit the TTC. Sit beside the guy with the rat on his shoulder. He always has a seat open beside him. If you strike up a conversation, he will give you a peanut. Delightful. Write something funny about that for the next class.
Next week we will be discussing the merits of grade school recess. There is a fine line between researching subjects for your next YA sensation and your imminent arrest. When parents come to pick up their cherubs and see you there with your notepad, camera, looking over the top of your readers, and licking your lips–it can straddle that line. But, this week we picked up a caramel macchiato with extra whip layered and caramel drizzle bottom and top–why waste what stuck to your lips. As they cuff you, remember to savour that bottom caramel because it is on the syllabus to finish your $12 drink. Insert your face into the opening of that recyclable plastic cup, extend your tongue to the bottom with your hands in cuffs. Bonus marks for scaring mothers and children with your groans of ecstasy and verbal objections to your incarceration that includes the phrase, “Just one more lick before we leave the schoolyard, Officer.” There is plenty of funny to write this week about your adventures. Previous students have found the police are not likely to do a cavity search at the local clink if you want to hoop a pen before class to expedite your homework.
Week three is a hiatus for your hearing; then, we are back to Starbucks for a double shot espresso with six raw sugars and six Equals. Take that in one go before we head, as a group, to our third field trip of the course—the emergency room. Now, find the funny here among the drunk vagrants, bawling children, open wounds, and puss. Write something funny. Just be funny. This is my expert advice. That, and bring sanitizer.
For our fourth lesson in hilarity, we will be going to my house. We will start with the side-splitting dishes, explore the hysterical world of vacuuming, dust for bunny-shaped dust bunnies (try under the bed for the most robust examples), and make our way to the basement to create a dent in that laugh-a-minute laundry. There is amusement in the whites; you just have to look for it. While you are rooting around, I’ll make a trip to get us all Venti Green Tea Frappuccinos, no sweetener, with almond milk, one scoop vanilla bean, one pump of skinny mocha, and four scoops of matcha, blended three times. These drink orders should give you enough time to get all the work done. Make sure you don’t forget to clean the fridge, your grade depends on it.
And, because I was hoping you could get your money’s worth, I have a treat for you. It is a mystery destination for our final lesson that will provide endless hours of content. We will take our Grande flat whites with extra white in a Venti cup to go and get into a minivan almost on empty. That’s right, today’s funny is on the Gardiner Expressway. With two lanes closed due to construction, we hit the road at 4.10 pm on a Friday. The comedy is non-stop, stop and go, or stop and stop. But there’s more! Cancel your weekend plans folks because when we run out of gas before our exit, that is when it gets hysterical.
It has been a pleasure to serve you. Don’t forget to grade your teacher. That will be a mere $600. I’ll take cash or e-transfer because I don’t trust any of your writing on cheques.
This was a homework assignment. I have gone back to school at the University of Toronto for the Creative Writing Certificate program. This semester I am taking Writing Humour. Although I acknowledge it is difficult to teach writing humour because it is far from formulaic, our first assignment was, “Write something funny.” We were given 45 minutes in class, then we took it away for an edit. I guess it was a test… your job is to see if I passed.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF STARBUCKS.