Humor Contest: So you think you can tweet
.@twitter is the ideal comedic medium for our times.
52 characters. Too earnest?
.@twitter is the perfect way to tell a joke. The same joke that’s been told 119 million times. And that only your co-worker will RT w/an LOL.
140 characters exactly. Too defeatist?
.@twitter, the perfect way to disappoint your parents in public!
64 characters. Truth in comedy.
So you think you can tweet.
We’ll be the judge of that, in the WP Magazine Humor Contest, Twitter category.
You can’t waste a syllable or even punctuation. “It’s sort of like the old Chinese guy who writes your name on a grain of rice,” he says. You have to make the joke fit, then sell it to tourists (fellow tweeters) on the boardwalk of their Twitter feeds.
Try not to be lazy or redundant. Someone will have gotten to the joke first. “There is a lot of parallel thinking in comedy writing. Twitter has allowed everybody in the world, including a pipe fitter in Lawrence, Kansas, to be monologue writers for Leno and Kimmel.”
Delaney’s No. 1 piece of advice: What makes you uncomfortable? Tweet about that. “For example, I’m married — and my wife is my favorite person in the whole world, I’m insane about her. …” But, to prudently paraphrase Delaney, married life isn’t all bliss all the time. So he tweeted:
If complaining was an Olympic event, my wife would complain about it.
Delaney also says not to overthink it. Actress Mindy Kaling, who has almost 2 million Twitter followers and regularly ranks on lists of funniest tweeters, would probably second that. She once told an interviewer that “with tweets, if you’re sitting around for more than 45 seconds, it’s probably not the medium for you.”
But it could be. We’re here if you want to give it a try.