My tip for today's pretty simple. Yoda T will tell you all about it.
What Yoda T is trying to say is simple. One great joke is better than seventeen lesser ones. This is a common problem that I see in reading manuscripts, especially when they're written in first person. Funny narrators don't have to be funny all the time. Lots of jokes slow down the pace and make it tough to follow your plot. And it gets annoying, kind of like the preschooler who tells you knock-knock jokes, all of which involve butts, for a half hour straight.
Don't be the butt-obsessed preschooler.
It's pretty easy to tell if this is a problem. Get out your manuscript and highlight the funny bits, where the narrator's making wisecracks, or using a funny turn of phrase, or your characters are taking pratfalls, or you've inserted a completely random element for the comedic value, or whatever form of humor you've chosen. There are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, watch out for big blocks of text where there's a zinger in every sentence. Consider cutting those blocks down to the lines with the most impact. One or two really great ones will get you more laughs than five right in a row. I cut some of my favorite funny lines from BAD TASTE IN BOYS, and I hated to see them go, but strangely, the chapter was funnier without them. Because the ones that were left really popped.
Remember, things that are unexpected are funny. If you lead your reader to expect a wisecrack every time Bazoomas McFly opens her mouth, you've shot yourself in the foot.
How do I know this? In BAD HAIR DAY, Kate ends up in competing for Aaron's attention. And her competition is very well endowed. In the last version of the book, Kate made a lot of boob jokes, and my editor suggested that maybe there were too many. My manuscript, she said, needed a breast reduction.
Yeah, my editor out funnied me. Maybe she should be writing this!
Are you struggling with making your funny bits funny? Ask me questions in the comments.