Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"How It Is Done" (1922)

        One of the most essential tricks in manufacturing humor is "to be able to say nothing and say it interestingly." J.P. McEvoy, newspaper humorist, said in an address before the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern university. Then, he added, "just keep on saying it."

        He gave the following plan for making a "funny column."

        "One of the old standbys of the newspaper humorists," he said, "is to take an old proverb, phrase or slogan and either reverse it or substitute for one or more of the words in it, other which have a similar sound but local significance. There is the proverb, 'go the the ant, thou sluggard.'

        "Very well, now it is spring, and the improvident man has shed his coat. So the newspaper humorist: 'Go to the uncle, thou sluggard.' Not so good, but I've paid for lots of 'em much worse. Here's more of 'em:

        "'It is called a club steak because you must club it.' (Pun).

        "'A gay dog now is a hot dog later.' (Pun).

        "'You can raise a devil best on a bottle.' (Double pun).

        "'There's many a trip 'twixt the hip and the lip.' (A new body on an old chassis).

        "'Women may have no sense of humor, but they take many a joke at the altar.' (A pun, and a good one).

        "In writing a newspaper verse, use little rhymes like 'Spoony or floosy Bambinos like her agile architecture is conducive to conjecture' or 'a sophisticated sentence of unrelated facts does not postulate ability to calculate a tax.'"

        Thank goodness, Mr. McEvoy has saved us a lot of work for today.

Syracuse Herald. April 11, 1922: 8 col 3.

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