writing a funny short story

Comedic writing: How to write a funny story

Comedic writing is hard to master, but understanding types of comedy, what makes a funny story work, the visceral ‘huh’ and more will help you connect with your readers’ funny bones.

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writing a funny short story

Funny, comedic writing is hard. Senses of humor vary in what people find amusing. Read a guide to how to write a funny story. Explore types of humor and comedy genres, humor writing tips from stand-up and comedy icons, and examples of different types of comedy writing. Bear in mind that these funny ideas and elements can be incorporated into just about any genre as well. The funniest writing comes from universal experiences that we are all familiar with. 

14 types of comedy

One of the challenges of comedic writing is that there are so many distinct types of humor. Read a quick breakdown of fourteen types:

  • Jokes are short stories or one-liners that consist of a setup and a punchline. For instance, ‘My grandfather has the heart of a lion and a lifetime ban at the zoo’ ( via Bored Panda ).
  • Situational comedy or sitcom is a type of humor that draws laughter from funny and absurd situations (e.g. farce which often features ludicrously absurd situations). Michael Frayn’s play Noises Off (1982), in which a technical rehearsal for a play keeps going wrong, sending its director into a rage, is a great example.
  • Romantic comedy or romcom is a comic movie (or book) that finds humor in the development of a romantic relationship. When Harry Met Sally (1989), starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, is a genre-defining romcom.
  • Dark comedy , also known as black comedy, is humor that finds the funny side in darker or more tragic subject matter. Caimh McDonnell’s A Man with One of Those Faces (2016) combines crime, murder and comedy.
  • Cringe comedy is a type of humor that derives its laughter from awkward characters and situations, guilty pleasure, and personal distress. It falls under dry humor. Larry David’s HBO show, Curb Your Enthusiasm , is a peak example of this.
  • Satire is a type of comedy that uses humor, irony, and exaggeration to expose society’s stupidity, bigotry, or other vices. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer is an example that uses humor to satirize but also indict the Vietnam War.
  • Parody is the imitation of a writer’s style or genre with intentional exaggeration for comic effect. Tim Burton’s alien invasion spoof, Mars Attacks! , and Henry N. Beard and Douglas C. Kenney’s Bored of the Rings , which satirizes Tolkien’s epic fantasy cycle, are examples of this.
  • Self-deprecating humor is when a comedic writer pokes fun at themselves. For example, they might use embarrassing experiences as material. David Sedaris’ comedic memoir/essays often find humor in his OCD, embarrassing childhood stories, and other self-deprecating subjects.
  • Insult comedy is humor based on true, painful, or exaggerated observations about others. The comedy roast is a perfect example of this. Jeff Ross’ roast of Bruce Willis showcases this type of humor [warning: Strong language].
  • Physical comedy is humor that uses the body, techniques such as mime or clowning for laughs. The films of Charlie Chaplin that use slapstick are an example.
  • Surreal comedy is humor that uses absurdism or dream-like logic for laughs, such as Monty Python’s ‘dead parrot’ sketch .
  • Wordplay plays with language, such as a pun or double entendre . Ex: Mae West’s quip: ‘I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.’
  • Blue humor is adult, often provocative, sexual or deliberately in bad taste. For example, Mae West’s bawdier inversion of a popular saying, ‘A hard man is good to find.’
  • Anti-humor uses bathos or anticlimax . The expected punchline is replaced with something simple, unfunny, or painfully obvious. The so-called ‘dad joke’ is an example – ‘A man walks into a bar … ouch.’

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Comedy genres in literature

What are the main comedy genres in books?

Satirical or political comedy

Think of Joseph Heller’s 1961 satirical anti-war novel Catch-22 . It follows anti-hero Captain John Yossarian and examines the absurdity of war and military life:

What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England, Americans are dying for America, Germans are dying for Germany, Russians are dying for Russia. There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Surely so many countries can’t all be worth dying for. Joseph Heller, Catch-22.

Comic essays and memoir

Comedic essays and memoir remain popular. Geoff Dyer is an example of an author in this category, having authored books such as Out of Sheer Rage : Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence , about all the ways the author avoided writing a book about the writer D.H. Lawrence. It is part- catalogue of procrastination, part-travelogue:

London is the worst. Lawrence realised this in 1916: London was ‘so foul’, he reckoned, that ‘one would die in it in a fortnight’. Since then it’s got even worse. Now it’s the world capital of flu. The sky in London drizzles flu, it rains flu. People from all over the world go there and get flu. Whether they come to see the changing of the guard, or to take ecstasy at raves, they all end up getting flu. Geoff Dyer, Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence .

Some non-fiction writers are just naturally funny, such as Bill Bryson and David Sedaris. Here the comedy is in the writing. Let’s look at an example from Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling: 

One of the things that happens when you get older is that you discover lots of new ways to hurt yourself. Recently, in France, I was hit square on the head by an automatic parking barrier, something I don’t think I could have managed in my younger, more alert years. There are really only two ways to get hit on the head by a parking barrier. One is to stand underneath a raised barrier and purposely allow it to fall on you. That is the easy way, obviously. The other method – and this is where a little diminished mental capacity can go a long way – is to forget the barrier you have just seen rise, step into the space it has vacated and stand with lips pursed while considering your next move, and then be taken completely by surprise as it slams down on your head like a sledgehammer on a spike. That is the method I went for.

Comic genre spoof and parody

Many funny books spoof a genre and its silliness, clichés, habits.

In Bored of the Rings , Frito (Frodo’s namesake) wonders whether he could just throw the One Ring down a storm drain and be done with it.

Comic fantasy is one type of genre hybrid that often uses parody. Sir Terry Pratchett is widely considered the master in how he lampoons elements of the fantasy tradition, such as outlandish worldbuilding elements, fantasy races, and plot tropes.

The humor category on Amazon shows just how eclectic comedy is in its inspirations and niches. From ‘Business & Professional’ through ‘Cooking’ to ‘Urban Legends’.

Many of the current humor bestsellers (as of March 2023) have some kind of censored curse word in the title (contemporary comedy often falls back on the un subtle art of not giving a f**k).

How to write a funny story: From comical concepts to comedy gold

As the types of comedy writing outlined above remind us, comedic writing runs from the deliberately lame to the edgy and risqué.

Read tips on how to write a funny story with ideas from of comedic writing in English in books, film and TV.

For a story to be funny, the concept must first hold enough potential for comedy.

Repetition and suspense are common ingredients of funny writing (and dramatic irony).

Zhubin Parang (producer and writer on The Daily Show ) says ‘the visceral ‘huh?’ is a key comedy element.

How and why do your favorite comedy books, TV shows and films make you laugh? Take notes.

A shtick is a comic routine, style of performance or gimmick (e.g. Diane Morgan’s shtick pretending to be an uninformed, idiotic interviewer).

In comedic writing, producing more material than required lets you choose the best jokes.

Browse through comedy titles for ideas (such as David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day or the Tolkien spoof Bored of the Rings ).

There’s that saying ‘brevity is the soul of wit’. Don’t make the path to the punchline too convoluted or meandering ( unless that in itself is the joke ).

Comedic writing infographic

Let’s expand on the comedic writing tips above.

Start with a funny concept

Just as a magical fantasy story starts with a fantastical concept, a laugh-out-loud story starts with a funny concept.

Scott Dikkers, founder and longest-serving editor-in-chief of the satirical news site The Onion , wrote a series of guides to comedic writing.

On comedy concepts, Dikkers says:

When you write humor, the core concept you’re writing about has to be funny. The core concept is, in fact, the most important part of your writing […] You need to be able to express your concept in a single line or sentence, with as few words as possible. Scott Dikkers, How to Write Funny: Your serious, step-by-step blueprint for creating incredibly, irresistibly, successfully hilarious writing , location 162.

Comedic writing quote - Margaret Cho on finding funny material

How can you find a funny concept?

There are many ways to develop a comedy idea:

  • Draw from life. What’s an absurd or funny-in-hindsight situation or experience that’s left you in stitches?
  • Go where there’s feeling. What drives you nuts? What has always struck you as ridiculous, ludicrous, bizarre, infuriating? Many comedic writers turn bugbears and pet peeves into comedy routines. See Diane Morgan, ‘Boys are Always Popular when they’re Murdered’ , for example. Or Hannibal Buress on why jaywalking is a ‘fantasy crime’ .
  • Read humor and drama. The wider the web of your inspiration, the more sources to draw on and the wider your field of reference.
  • Play with comedy subtext. Comedy has subtext. For example, ‘getting’ a joke such as that Bored Panda joke about the grandfather who has the heart of a lion (and a lifetime ban from the zoo) requires us to understand the subtext (that ‘to have the heart of’ something has figurative and literal meanings). What laugh-bringing realization will your next funny line hinge on?
  • Brainstorm funny ‘what if’ scenarios. What if a man tried to return a dead parrot to a pet shop (as in Monty Python), for example. What if absolutely everything at a funeral went wrong (to hilarious effect)?

Additionally, try writing your comedy concept as a single line as Dikkers advises. If you must explain the concept in paragraphs, it may be too convoluted.

Another important note to consider is that sometimes funny stories or anecdotes are funnier than actual jokes. See how you can incorporate these funny stories into your writing.

Joan Rivers, on channeling strong feelings into comedy:

Every comedian is furious. Age makes me angry. I’m unhappy at not being able to open packages anymore. I’m angry that libraries have gone. I hate children on planes. I’m very shallow, so they tend to be little things. To be honest, I think I was probably angry the day I was born, you know, about diapers or something. Joan Rivers, interviewed by The Jewish Chronicle, October 29 2010.

Comedy writing exercises

To find a funny story idea, try this exercise by humorist Donna Cavanagh:

Write down memories of past embarrassing moments and see if you can turn mortification into mirth. Donna Cavanagh, How to Write and Share Humor: Techniques to Tickle Funny Bones and Win Fans , 2016, Location 415.

Another exercise to find a funny story idea: Write down three things you find funny. Imagine a scenario involving who, what, why, where and when for each. Try to write a funny story idea as one sentence.

Example: 1. Funny orchestra mishaps [ Ed’s note: Funny incidents such as a brass player sneezing into their trombone ]. 2. Awkward situations that just get worse. 3. Human foibles.

Scenario sentence: A trombone player who’s allergic to dust is called upon to play in a historical building last swept in 1983 and the concert is a series of mishaps culminating in him sneezing into his trombone in the slow movement.

Develop comedic repetition and suspense

A lot of the success in comedic writing for stage or film lies in comedic timing. What are two kinds of timing in humor writing, two building blocks of funny stories? Comedic repetition and suspense.

Repetition in comedic writing

Repetition at its simplest level is like the ‘knock-knock’ joke’s structure of call and response: ‘Knock-knock… who’s there?’.

In comedic writing, elements that add hilarity through repetition include:

  • Characters’ catchphrases, tics, and quirks. The way Elmer Fudd’s difficulty saying ‘r’ in Looney Tunes, for example, makes it funny when he starts ranting about Bugs Bunny and ‘wascally wabbits’.
  • Repetition with surprise or comical circularity. For example, in the cult TV series Twin Peaks , James asks Donna, who’s visiting him in the sheriff’s holding cells, “When did you start smokin’?” when she lights up a cigarette. Donna replies, “I smoke every once in a while. Helps relieve tension.” James asks, “When did you get so tense?” to which Donna replies, “When I started smoking.”
  • Running jokes and gags. Popular in humor writing for TV series in particular, running jokes ( such as Buster Bluth’s extra-mural lessons that haven’t taught him much at all in Arrested Development ) get finessed and added to with repetition, brought up and revisited in new contexts in a way that adds to their hilarity.
  • Recurring theme. For example in the 1990s/early 2000s sitcom Frasier , it’s clear to us, and the rest of the cast, that Frasier’s brother, Nyles, is smitten with Daphne. But Daphne remains unaware of this, and this theme runs throughout the series until – spoiler alert! – Daphne and Nyles finally get it together.

Suspense and nervous laughter

Comedic writing shares something in common with mystery/thriller writing: The build up of anticipation, or suspense .

Campy slasher films, a sort of comedy-horror genre, often make audiences laugh. It’s the nervous laughter that ensues when characters make foolish choices that make viewers want to yell at the screen (‘Don’t go into that creepy house!). ‘Person makes stupid choice’ is an endless fount of comedy ideas.

Suspense in comedy builds from waiting for the punchline or left turn, the outcome of that choice.

If suspense in dramatic writing means anticipating the bad, in comedy, it’s anticipating the hilariously or embarrassingly bad (for example, waiting for parents’ reaction to their new son-in-law accidentally breaking a beloved relative’s urn in Meet the Fockers ).

Observe and embrace absurdity

Comedic writing draws on observing – recognizing – the absurdity of everyday life.

It may be the Sisyphean (a task that can never be completed) aspect of work or relationships, for example.

In an existential comedy scenario , a chef perhaps keeps getting a meal sent back to the kitchen by a fussy table with exceptionally petty demands, until she explodes in a comical or cringeworthy way.

Many jokes in stand-up and other forms of comedy writing have become clichéd (such as jokes about airline food being terrible) because they repeat what we know to be true. Fresh humor, by contrast, often makes the familiar experience or scenario (e.g. ‘meeting the parents’) seem newly absurd.

Often in comedic writing, there’s a thin line between pain and laughter. The schadenfreude or voyeuristic pleasure of others’ misfortunes becomes funny because its relatable. We feel the pain of the kid bowled over by the Labrador on the beach. Tweet This

Ed ‘s note: A friend would tell the funny story of going to an ice cream shop where a very disinterested shop worker leant on the counter, chewing gum. “You want a cone or a cup?” she muttered, after he’d made his choices of flavors. “Cup, please,” he said. She paused, chewed a bit. “Don’t have.”

Bizarre and absurd situations are goldmines for existential and other types of comedy showcasing human foibles, miscommunications and vices. Tweet This

Comedy writer and producer Zhubin Parang speaks of the ‘visceral ‘huh?” moment – ‘situations that don’t go the way they should, or people who respond to an event or idea in a different way than they should’, as in the ice cream shop example above.

This is something to mine for funny writing ideas .

Take notes on comedy books and shows

🗣️ What are your favorite funny books and TV shows?

Tell us your recommendations in the comments. You can learn a lot from comedy shows and stand-up comedy you enjoy about comic writing devices such as setup and punchline, or the unexpected turn. Tell us a funny anecdote. 

Comedic writing exercise: The anatomy of laughter

Take a piece of funny writing or a stand up segment and ask the following questions:

  • What devices is the writer using for humorous effect? Is there wit and wordplay? Satire? Clever repetition? Irony?
  • How does the writer use language to comedic effect? Is there a mix of high and low (e.g. formal and slang) language? Do they curse? Is there exaggeration or understatement?
  • What part of the story or script did you find funniest? Why? Was it an unexpected word, phrase, outcome, revelation? An everyday object or experience the comic reframed in a new light?

Comedy writing advice from Sean Lock

Explore funny shticks

The word ‘shtick’ means ‘a gimmick, comic routine, style of performance, etc. associated with a particular person’ ( Oxford Languages ). It is of Yiddish origin, from the German word for ‘piece’, st ü ck .

In comedic writing, creating a character with a shtick supplies a range of scenarios to fill with funny material.

In the series Cunk on Earth , for example, Diane Morgan’s shtick is the setup that she’s an uninformed interviewer narrating a historical documentary about human history – art, culture, religion, conflict.

Her fictional character, Philomena Cunk, asks Oxford and Cambridge professors questions such as, ‘When the Egyptians built the pyramids, did they start at the top or the bottom?’

There are several funny aspects to the character that make up the shtick, including:

  • Random anecdotes she throws in about ‘my mate Paul’ who gets into all kinds of tricky situations
  • Deliberate mispronunciations (such as pronouncing ‘The Bible’ as ‘The Bibble’ or the ‘Soviet Union’ as the ‘Soviet Onion’)
  • Responding with slang and ‘low register’ to academic interviewees who use much more formal language (e.g. ‘Yer jokin’!’ or ‘Are you havin’ a laugh?)
  • Running bits/gags (every episode references and plays a segment of Belgian producers Technotronic’s song ‘Pump Up the Jam’, with funny and nonsense text overlays stating random or made-up facts)

Think of one of your favorite comical characters from fiction. What sayings, habits, physical gestures, and other quirks make up their ‘shtick’? Think of Douglas Adams’ aliens, who torture humans with their terrible poetry.

Talking of characterization, remember that even humor writing has to have realistic characters. TV sitcoms often have really silly characters, too silly to be believable. Think of the 1980s sitcom, The Golden Girls, for example. Rose Nylund (played by Betty White) is the daffy one, rather too gullible and naïve, which played into the humor of the show. While popular with audiences, her characters borders on being on the wrong side of believable. 

Write surplus comedy material

A good piece of advice on how to write a funny story Dikkers gives in his comedy manuals is this: Write more material than you need.

Just as stand-up comedians don’t share the jokes that don’t make it on stage, comedic writers – whether writing fiction or screenplays – don’t share the pages that didn’t make it to the final draft or production. Tweet This

Blooper reels are extra.

The benefits of brainstorming and churning out ideas , multiple options, are:

  • Digging deeper than the ‘easy’ laughs. Churning out lines gets the obvious ideas out the way. Comedian and actress Wanda Sykes shared with Kevin Hart in a podcast that her audience expects more than the easy, obvious joke (and that bringing her self – her politics – to her comedy helped her create funnier, more original material)
  • Surplus comedic material to select the funniest jokes. Zhubin Parang, who was head writer for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah , says, ‘You always need to tighten, tighten, tighten. Every first draft has way too many words, extra thoughts or side ideas.’ Writing extra material gives this tightening process more material to work with

Hint it’s funny from the title

Think of titles of comedic fiction and non-fiction, such as:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
  • A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace
  • Sombrero Fallout by Richard Brautigan

These are titles with wordplay (e.g. Fisher’s play on the phrase ‘wishful thinking’), absurd humor (the idea of a hitchhiking guide to a place so gargantuan), droll and random humor.

Your title is an opportunity to both signal that your book is a work of humor writing, and to signal its contents (e.g. Fisher’s memoir hinting at the memoir’s one subject of substance addiction).

Make it accessible and easy to read

Finally, effective comedic writing doesn’t need ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ and highfalutin’ convolution. (Unless it’s the Ben Elton -penned sitcom about Shakespeare and his trials and frustrations, Upstart Crow ).

There is an accessibility of style often to comedic writing. We mostly get the joke (without excessive explanation). Except in a brand of ‘random’ humor that relies more on a ‘visceral huh’ than ‘setup’ and ‘punchline’.

Mostly, style services the humor. Savage, biting satire is concise and punchy. Screwball and madcap comedy goes off the rails more.

In the Irish comedy series Derry Girls , there’s a wordy uncle named Colm who drives everyone mad with his long-winded, meandering storytelling .

This ‘shtick’ recurs as a plot device (the group of school friends who are the main characters use him to get out of being arrested for trespassing, for example).

The humor here is in how inaccessible, uninteresting, and infuriatingly boring Colm’s stories are. It’s a good reminder that there’s always an exception to the rule. However, the situational humor when characters are stuck with Colm is easy to read – the absurdity of getting trapped in a conversation you don’t want to have is a relatable, comedic situation.

Think how you can slip one-liners into your story. Even if a story is serious and gritty, you can lighten up the tone by inserting humorous bits and pieces in a story. Clever wordplay and puns can add humor to your writing. Look for opportunities to play with language, incorporate double meanings, or create humorous juxtapositions of words.

What is your style of humor in your every day life? Use your natural sense of humor. Think how you can inject that into your own writing.

🗣️ What’s a funny book or show you found relatable and why? Tell us in the comments

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Related Posts:

  • How do you write a story using three-act structure?
  • How to write the middle of a story: 9 tips
  • How do you write a dystopian story? 5 tips

writing a funny short story

Jordan is a writer, editor, community manager and product developer. He received his BA Honours in English Literature and his undergraduate in English Literature and Music from the University of Cape Town.

2 replies on “Comedic writing: How to write a funny story”

This was so fun! I especially enjoyed “highfalutin’ convolution” 😁 Here’s one of my favorites: “Every book is a children’s book if the kid can read!” ― Mitch Hedberg

Haha, I love that, Margriet. Thanks for sharing.

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How to Write Funny Stories

Last Updated: December 28, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 209,112 times.

Humor is an important part of everyday life. People use humor to help ease tense situations, relieve stress and sadness, and bond with others over a good laugh. If you have a great sense of humor and you're interested in writing, you may be wondering how to combine your talents. Writing a funny story is not as hard as you might think, so get started on your manuscript and let your comedic tales bring laughter to others.

Funny Story Help

writing a funny short story

Planning Your Story

Step 1 Identify your style of humor.

  • Observational humor involves pointing out humorous or mundane situations in everyday life, as well as poking fun at others, often in a playful manner.
  • Anecdotal humor focuses on humorous personal stories, which may be slightly embellished for comedic effect.
  • Burlesque involves caricature and imitation, often with exaggerated characteristics.
  • Dark (or gallows) humor involves death and other types of misfortune, often with a comically pessimistic viewpoint.
  • Dry (or deadpan) humor uses a lack of emotion or expression to deliver funny material.
  • Farcical (or screwball) humor uses skits or satire involving highly improbable circumstances, often with exaggerated reactions and frantic movements.
  • High (or highbrow) humor involves cultured or intelligent topics/themes.
  • Hyperbolic humor uses excess and exaggeration for comedic effect.
  • Ironic humor involves either a split from normalcy or a situation in which the audience knows more than the characters know.
  • Satirical humor points out a person's or society's weaknesses and downfalls with comedic effect.
  • Self-deprecating humor features the comedian or storyteller making fun of themself.
  • Situational humor employs some elements of farce, screwball, or slapstick comedy to make fun of everyday situations.
  • Slapstick involves acting out mock violence or bodily harm through physical comedy.

Step 2 Decide what your story is about.

  • Brainstorm ideas. If you're stuck, try watching funny movies and reading funny stories for inspiration.
  • Write down strange or funny situations you've experienced in the past. Don't worry about making them funny right now. Just write out what you can remember about the experience and why you found it humorous.
  • Choose a vivid setting that your audience will be able to imagine. They'll be better able to understand the humor if they can imagine the setting. The setting itself doesn't have to be funny (though it can be), but it should make sense for the characters and plot you're creating.
  • Think about what you ultimately want your story to say. What will the overarching point of your story be? Is it a story about overcoming adversity? Is it a commentary on modern society?

Step 3 Create a conflict and tension.

  • Your story's conflict should create tension. Because it's a funny story, that tension may be funny itself, or the circumstances around it (how it builds, or how it is resolved) could be humorous. Most commonly, the way you resolve the tension in a comedic story will provide much of the humor.
  • Additionally, always create some kind of stakes. A good story has some outcome on the line for the characters, which may be funny or tragic (but needs to be realistic).
  • Sketch out the rising action, climax, and falling action. The climax is typically the high point of tension, and the rising and falling actions build up and relieve that tension (respectively).
  • In the Chris Farley movie Tommy Boy , for example, the conflict is the risk that Tommy's evil mother-in-law and her secret husband will sell the business and get away with it. The tension arises from that conflict as the narrative builds to a point where everything must be resolved.

Step 4 Choose a point of view.

  • First person - this is where a story is told using "I," "me," and "mine." It's one character's subjective take on the events of your story, and the narrator is usually either the protagonist (the main character) or a close secondary character telling the protagonist's story.
  • Second person - a story told in second person is told directly to "you" (without any "I," except in dialogue). The reader imagines herself as being part of the plot, with the action written in the following manner: "You follow him down the stairs, and you're surprised at what you see."
  • Third person omniscient - this is where an omniscient (all-seeing and all-knowing) narrator delivers the story, without ever referring to an "I" or addressing the reader as "you." The reader comes to understand the events, thoughts, and motivations each character experiences.
  • Third person limited - while told in a similar narrative style as third person omniscient, third person limited only offers insights into the thoughts/feelings of one character. The narrative follows the protagonist and delivers the world as he/she experiences it.

Step 5 Set up funny situations.

  • Let's say your story is about a man who is invited out to lunch. He shows up to lunch wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops, plus he brought his dog. However, the restaurant turns out to be an upscale 5-star eatery with a dress code. Although the situation itself might not seem funny, it's a great source of humor because it flips your expectations. By contrasting the classy restaurant with the man's casual attire, you can set the scene for readers and help them relate to the character's funny situation.

Step 6 Create funny characters.

  • Remember that there are many different kinds of humor. Your characters might be sarcastic, dumb, observant, and so on.
  • The Three Stooges program offers a great example of funny characters. Their style of humor was predominantly slapstick, but much of the humor arises from their personalities, quirks, and reactions to both situations and each other.
  • Let each character's humor arise from his or her personality, and be consistent with that character's traits.
  • Don't worry about crafting the character's entire backstory yet (though you will have to do this once you begin the actual writing process). For now, focus on getting a clear idea in your head about what the characters look like and how they behave.

Writing the Story

Step 1 Write an engaging first paragraph.

  • A good first paragraph should hook your reader's attention and interest.
  • Don't worry about making the beginning funny; you can always insert humor during the revision process. Focus on engaging the reader by evoking the scene or situation.
  • Try incorporating something unusual, something unexpected, a striking action, or an interesting conflict in the first paragraph. This creates tension and a sense of urgency, and the reader will want to continue.

Step 2 Develop your characters.

  • Always know more about a character than you'll ever actually use in the story. Flesh out the character in your head before you begin writing so that he or she will feel real to you and to the reader.
  • Brainstorm what makes this character unique. Consider what he looks like, his hobbies, temperament, phobias, faults, strengths, secrets, defining moments/memories, etc.
  • Make sure you convey four main characteristics to your readers: a character's appearance, actions, speech, and thoughts. Any other details can support those characteristics, but without those four your character may not come to life for a reader.

Step 3 Work in funny anecdotes.

  • Many people find that humorous stories/anecdotes are funnier than an actual joke. Jokes can elicit a laugh, but they're short lived and generally less memorable than a true story of embarrassment or mistaken identity.
  • Don't just stop at your own personal anecdotes. Mine your previous conversations with friends, family, and coworkers, and try to incorporate their moments of humor.
  • David Sedaris is a great comedic writer who uses personal anecdotes as a jumping off point to talk about the comedic (and at times tragic) aspects of human nature and experience. Try reading his essays online or pick up one of his many books for inspiration and examples.

Step 4 Show, don't tell.

  • Use specific details that illustrate the point you're trying to make. Instead of telling the reader a character is sad, show him crying and running off to be alone.
  • Let the reader assemble the pieces of the scene or event on her own. This will help the reader feel your emotions more genuinely.
  • Be specific and use concrete descriptions. Avoid the abstract or intangible, and instead focus on something the reader can imagine seeing, hearing, touching, or feeling.

Revising Your Story to Make It Funnier

Step 1 Try incorporating comedic descriptions.

  • Find a new and interesting way to say something familiar. This can be very funny, and it also keeps your readers on their toes. [9] X Research source
  • Try using funny adjectives in your descriptions. Again, the focus should be on saying something in a way that surprises or delights the reader.
  • Many comedians find that words with a hard "k" sound (like "car" or "quintuplet") simply sound funnier. The same is true for words with a hard "g" sound (like "guacamole" or "garrulous")

Step 2 Write funny comparisons.

  • Use similes and metaphors that evoke familiar images. [11] X Research source For example, you might say something like, "Making it through this week will be about as easy as painting an elephant's toenails; I hope I make it out alive."
  • A simile is a comparison that uses "like" or "as". An example of a simile would be, "Your love is like a flower."
  • A metaphor is a comparison that describes something as though it were actually something else. An example of a metaphor would be, "My heart is a pounding drum."
  • A humorous comparison might be something like, "He danced like a horse drunk on wine...but he was still a better dance partner than I was."
  • Try out different comparisons until you find one that is effective and makes you laugh, then test it out on someone else to see if they find it funny.

Step 3 Make fun of yourself.

  • It's okay to poke fun at others close to you (your friends, family, etc.). But if you just hammer on them without taking a jab at yourself it may come across as mean or arrogant.
  • Worrying about offending others can stifle your comedy. [13] X Research source Making fun of yourself lets readers know it's okay to laugh along with you, since no one else is being unfairly targeted.
  • Talk about personal experiences, things that have happened to your friends/family/coworkers, and any other aspects of your life that have brought you funny stories - just be sure to bring the mockery down on yourself at least as much as you make fun of others.

Step 4 Never tell a reader that something is funny.

  • Let your readers discover the humor of your situation on their own. That will make for stronger storytelling, and it will let your jokes land better for the reader.
  • This ties in with the "show, don't tell" rule. Just as you showed your reader a scene or a character with skillful description, you should likewise show your reader the funny description or action sequence without saying it was funny.

Step 5 Remember the rule of three.

  • The rule of threes relies on pairing two similar ideas/events/people together so that the reader recognizes a pattern forming.
  • Once the reader expects the pattern to continue, you deliver a third idea/event/person that goes in a direction the reader did not expect.
  • This works best with groups of three because it's a low enough number that most people will easily remember each item, but it's also just enough items that the reader will come to see a pattern and expect it to continue.
  • As an example of the rule of three, you might say something like, "I don't know what's wrong with my dog; I've taken him to obedience classes, I learned how to discipline him, but he still hasn't helped me meet anyone at the dog park."

Step 6 Practice using comedic timing.

  • Comedic timing may involve an element of surprise, misdirection, or simply building suspense in order to let a funny line land at the best possible moment.
  • An example of comedic timing might involve writing something like, "This dating tip always works and it will drive your partner crazy...except for when it fails."

Step 7 Don't overdo the humor.

  • Don't lose focus of what your story is actually about. It can be a very funny story, but it needs to be a strongly-written story first.
  • Try to limit the use of humor throughout the story. That way, when a funny line really lands well, it will be memorable and exceptionally funny.

Step 8 Edit your story.

  • It may be helpful to set your story aside for a few days before approaching it to edit and revise. When you look at your story with a fresh pair of eyes, you're more likely to catch the mistakes that you might otherwise have missed.
  • Consider having a friend read your story, and ask for feedback. You should also ask your friend to circle or underline any typos, grammatical/syntactical errors, and weak or unresolved segments of the plot.

Expert Q&A

Christopher Taylor, PhD

  • Consider writing a parody. Parodies can be very funny, and it might be easier because you start with an existing storyline. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Make your stories unpredictable. Always try to predict your readers' expectations and deliver something totally unexpected. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Remember, ideas won't come to you on your own. You need to be patient and find your own inspiration. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

writing a funny short story

  • Don't overdo your humor. Too many funny parts crammed into a single story might overwhelm or even bore a reader. It's better to make a few funny parts count, and they'll be more memorable and draw more laughs. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 0

Things You'll Need

You might also like.

Be Funny

  • ↑ http://www.dailywritingtips.com/20-types-and-forms-of-humor/
  • ↑ http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/shortstory/
  • ↑ http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/how-to-write-funny-dialogue-what-i-learned-writing-storming/
  • ↑ http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-mix-humor-into-your-writing
  • ↑ http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/may02/seven-steps-to-better-writing-humor-5026
  • ↑ http://writetodone.com/how-to-write-funny/
  • ↑ http://thewritepractice.com/four-commandments-to-writing-funny/

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

The key to writing funny stories is to come up with funny scenarios and using comedic language to describe the action. Choose a vivid setting for your story to take place in and come up with a funny incident for your plot to build off of. For instance, the setting could be a high school gym and the inciting incident could be a football player dressed as a cheerleader at a pep rally. Introduce your characters by describing who they are and what they look like so your audience can imagine the situation. Your descriptions themselves can be funny and help you set the scene. Try detailing 2 things that shouldn’t normally go together or describe the absurdity of how a person or place looks. Avoid actually telling your readers that something is funny. Instead, let the humor in the situation and the characters make it funny. For tips about how to work in funny anecdotes into a story, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Quick links on this page:

  • introduction
  • comedy should be used to support an amazing story
  • how to use humour in stories
  • things to avoid in comedy writing
  • learn from humorous films and books
  • humour is subjective
  • funny stories
  • useful links to other comedy resources

Introduction

This post contains lots of comedy writing tips and advice to help you pen a successful funny short story.

I’ve used some real-life humour writing examples, taking extracts from my own published stories to clearly illustrate how the tips were used in practice to achieve success.

I’ve also highlighted some common mistakes made by authors trying to write humorous tales so you can avoid them.

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ha ha ha haaa ha haah haha ha ha hah he heh heeeee ha haaaaaa he

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Comedy Should Be Used to Support an Amazing Story

Writing comedy isn’t easy. Many authors struggle to place humour so it sits naturally and unobtrusively within a story.

I run and judge To Hull & Back , a humorous short story competition offering a £1,000 top prize. Because of this, I’m fortunate to read all sorts of different styles of comedic stories from writers residing all over the world. The best funny short stories I read all have the following in common:

The writer uses humour to support a great story.

They do not try to be funny for the sake of being funny.

Think of a story like a roast dinner. The main focus is the meat – beef, lamb, pork, chicken or whatever. Gravy is used to compliment the meal. In this analogy, the story is the meat and the humour is the gravy.

If the beef is chewy, or the chicken dry, an awesome gravy is not going to make the meal enjoyable, even if it’s cooked by Nigella Lawson.

A story is the same. The characters need to be excellent, the plot gripping, the idea original and engaging, the presentation professional. The humour should simply complement the story, giving it style and making it more enjoyable to read.

The same principle can be applied to any style or genre of writing. For example…

Just because you have a vampire, a derelict castle, some screaming virgins and copious amounts of gore, does not mean you have created a horror story filled with suspense and intrigue.

Just because you have a handsome hero who can drive really fast without crashing, stand in the middle of gunfight without getting shot and blow shit up without hurting any innocent bystanders, does not mean you have an entertaining action thriller.

The story itself – its subject matter, its moral, its meaning – is the most important aspect of any successful tale.

Chris Fielden short story writer

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How to Use Humour in Stories

I find the best way is through:

Let’s look at these individually. I’ll use some real-life examples in this section.

If you give your characters a sense of humour – particularly the central character whose viewpoint you are likely to be writing from – their voice can add a comedic tone to the story in a natural way. For example, they might make funny observations about events, the situation or other characters and use amusing synonyms.

In my story ‘ Devil’s Crush ’, the main character, Joshua, has a strong sense of humour – it’s all that’s allowed him to keep his mind after losing his legs at war in Afghanistan. This allowed me to add a tinge of dark humour to the story, despite its serious subject matter.

In the story, Joshua encounters a demon. This is his description of the demon when it first appears:

I know the demon is a he because he’s naked. He’s a he with the right to be proud of just how much of a ‘he’ he is. His skin is the colour of burnt rust, his body slender yet muscular and he wears a goatee on his chin more like the animal it is named after than a man. His two horns are long and curved like warped blades of molten rock, his hairline a mass of flickering flames and in his eye sockets are two glowing coals which ping and hiss like the embers of a dying fire in the breeze. He is the source of the acrid stench which fills the room.

The second sentence in this paragraph delivers an element of humour without detracting from the description. This comes from Joshua’s voice – the way he sees and describes things. As the story is told in the first person, I used this tone throughout. It’s not laugh out loud hilarious; it simply adds an amusing undertone that helps engage the reader. Joshua’s sense of humour also helps develop his character, adding depth and believability to a fantasy story in a subtle manner.

The situations characters find themselves in can be amusing. This is often used very successfully in sitcoms.

The danger here is making the situation slapstick in an unbelievable way, with characters acting out of character or a plot being manipulated to generate a laugh. This can feel unnatural and disengage a reader. While common in sketch shows, this is not appropriate for a short story. Readers expect more depth.

When writing, I find it’s the way the characters react to the situation that makes it funny, not the situation itself.

An example can be seen in the video below. This is a very famous scene from the UK sitcom Only Fools & Horses .

Del falls through the bar - famous Only Fools & Horses clip

It’s the way Trigger (played by Roger Lloyd-Pack) reacts to the situation after Del (played by David Jason) has fallen over that makes this so funny.

Here’s an example from one of my stories. In ‘Shot in the Head and Left For Dead’ the main character, Dave, is in a band. He’s playing at Wembley Stadium in London and half the crowd have turned into zombies. It’s the way Dave observes, describes and reacts to what he’s seeing that makes the situation amusing.

There’s a gore-fest of pandemonium going on in the audience that would make Quentin Tarantino proud. Half of the crowd are trying to eat the other half’s brains. The ones who are reluctant to have their heads ripped open are trying to run away and, or, kill their attackers with anything they can use as a weapon, including bits of other people. Things couldn’t be redder – it’s like a tomato puree production factory.

Before I can fully digest the scene, a mass of smoking devilry dives out of the sky and starts munching zombies like a ravenous bulldozer. It’s about the size of a three-bed semi. Its teeth are as big as buses and it stinks like sulphur.

I look at the rest of the band. None of them seem to be zombies, although it’s always hard to tell with the rhythm section. At the side of the stage I notice two of the roadies eating one of the sound guys, while my guitar tech is using a spare Les Paul to try and behead what used to be our A&R man. Everything is turning to shit faster than swill through a pig.

I grab Maiden’s arm. "Fuck the fuck," he says. "What the bastard?" Eloquently put. Kind of sums up what I was thinking.

"Noise," I scream. "We need to make lots of it."

He looks at me like I’m mental. To be fair, he might be right. Bollocks to it. This zombie-monster-fest is coming to an end. Now.

The events that are occurring are fantastical. Dave’s voice brings humour into the situation. The characters are confused, not acting quickly, which seemed believable to me. While the situation might be so ludicrous it’s amusing, the characters remain in character – they don’t act how I want them to act; they act how they should, given what’s happening around them.

I often write without excessive plotting as I find this allows me to develop characters naturally in this manner. I always write with an end in mind (it helps steer a plot in the right direction) but don’t plan the detail. It works for me. Why not try it yourself?

What characters say and how they react to what is said can be very funny. Dialogue is the method I use most frequently to add humour into a story.

‘Death of a Superhero’ is a story that contains a lot of amusing dialogue (it isn’t available to read online, but is in the 1st To Hull & Back short story anthology or you can hear it on YouTube ). While what is said is amusing, the main purpose of the speech is to reveal the story and develop characters.

In this story the main character is Death. He is faced by a recently deceased woman who is pretending to be Batman.

“You’re listed here as Doris Claymore,” he said.

“Never heard of her,” said Batman.

Death reached out and stroked the decaying blade of the scythe that rested against his desk. “This is quite simple, Doris. To progress peacefully into the afterlife, you need to confirm your name. It means I can be certain of who you are, what you’ve achieved in life and, therefore, where you should spend eternity.” Death dished out his best glare. As glares go, it was pretty impressive. In the past, it’d made stars think twice about shooting. “Can you tell me your real name please?”

“Already told you. I’m Batman.”

“How can I put this politely?”

“No need to be polite,” said Bat-Doris. “Got skin as thick as armadillos, us crime fighters.”

Given the invite, Death decided to be blunt. “Not only is Batman fictional, he…” Death left a pause which he hoped would scream with meaning, “…is a man.”

“You have breasts.”

“They’re pecs.”

“No, they’re breasts,” said Death, “and Lycra does little to mask their magnitude. I feel I should add that Batman was always depicted as an athletic individual, at the peak of physical fitness. Clearly, you’re not.”

A tear trickled from beneath Doris’s mask, suggesting her skin might not be as thick as she’d led Death to believe. “OK,” she whispered, “point taken.”

Despite the scythe, the rotting cloak and the distinct lack of flesh coating his crumbling bones, Death was a sensitive individual. He disliked causing upset. Most people found the experience of dying traumatic enough, without him being disagreeable.

In a more gentle tone, he said, “Good. What’s your real name?”

“Bruce Wayne.”

As you can see, the dialogue in this extract helps to develop character and reveal the plot, making the reader want to find out what happens next. Death and Doris have clear voices – Death has an underlying sense of humour, while the humour is Doris’s words come from her defiance to admit the truth. The question is, why is she behaving like this? Well, if you read (or listen to) the whole story you’ll find out.

'Death of a Superhero', a funny short story performed by Christopher Fielden

Things to Avoid in Comedy Writing

Being funny for the sake of being funny.

Don’t try and be funny for the sake of it. Humour needs to evolve and present itself naturally. If you chuck in a slapstick moment when your story doesn’t need it, it can disengage the reader.

For example:

Arthur is the central character in a story. He’s having to come to terms with how he’s slowly losing his wife to Alzheimer’s. The story is written in a humorous style – Arthur is an amusing character and his sense of humour allows him to find ways of dealing with the pain his wife’s situation is causing him.

If, during the story, Arthur is at B&Q and needs to urinate but is so desperate that he decides to use a display toilet and gets caught by a member of staff, is that funny? Does it fit?

Well, it depends how it’s handled.

If the situation is placed in the story to generate a laugh via bared willies in a busy shop and inappropriate torrents of urine, then no. The reader will not be able to suspend their disbelief. They will disengage from the story and ask questions like:

  • Why didn’t Arthur just go to the toilet provided for customers?
  • If he was that out of control of his body, wouldn’t he just wet himself?
  • Why am I reading this story? I think I’ll stop…

The act Arthur is performing wouldn’t seem realistic or believable. Yes, I’ve seen very similar situations presented in stories submitted to the short story competition I run many times.

However, if Arthur acted like this on purpose, to gain attention or help, and the B&Q staff member was a kind young man named Jim who wanted to help Arthur, then the situation and their conversation could be presented in an amusing manner. It would have a point and add to the story, revealing character development and plot. In this situation, it’s not the bared willies and public urinating that’s funny, it’s the resulting conversation and reason behind the situation occurring in the first place.

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Bodily Functions

In everyday life, farting, poo, wee and snot will always be funny. However, in writing, these subjects have been covered comprehensively for decades by extremely talented writers and actors. It’s very hard to come up with an original way of inserting amusing bodily functions into a story.

I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m simply saying be very careful if you do – make sure your story requires Grandma to fart, for example, rather than just putting it in there for the sake of it.

Because Pauly (a good friend of mine) is a teacher, I’ve been lucky enough to judge a children’s humorous writing competition for his school. 95% of the stories kids aged 7-9 write involve farting, poo, wee, vomit and/or snot. That’s what children find funny.

Bear that in mind when writing for adults. While some of us still smirk when we drop a violently aromatic guff in a confined space shared with a loved one, it doesn’t always translate into a gripping focus for a story’s plot.

When I judged the competition for the school, I did this short video for Pauly to show the kids. I thought I'd include it here as it's about humorous writing.

me, talking about comedy writing

Avoid clichés. When you read a lot of short stories, like a magazine editor or a competition judge might, you encounter a lot of clichés – the same hackneyed phrases, used time and again (see what I did there? I’ve highlighted it in blue in case you missed it…).

Clichés become clichés because they are commonly used. This means they are not original. They do not help a writer create a unique voice. They do not engage a reader. They are unlikely to help you become a published author. More often than not (I did it again, did you notice?) they will lead to stories being rejected.

Cliché doesn’t just refer to common phraseology. It also refers to overused themes and subject matters. For example, I find a lot of older writers tend to write about people struggling to come to terms with retirement:

  • Wives that find their husband’s constant presence annoying
  • Husbands who decide to take up DIY to fill their time and make hilarious (often not…) mistakes
  • Couples realising they have grown apart now their children have left home and try to do something about it

I see these types of stories a lot in the competition I run. If you’re going to tackle a subject matter like this, you must come up with an original angle.

Below is a video by InkTears CEO Anthony Howcroft. It’s entitled ‘How to Win a Short Story Competition’. It’s worth watching the whole thing, but pay special attention to tip number 1.

Exclamation Marks

Exclamation marks do not make your writing funnier. If you use more than 1 at a time, they do not exponentially add hilarity to the previous sentence. In fact, they can have the opposite effect.

In my experience, many writers overuse exclamation marks, especially when trying to write comedy. There is plenty of advice on this elsewhere and opinions do differ. Still, the best comments I’ve seen are by Terry Pratchett and Elmore Leonard which were shared by the Guardian on Twitter.

The humour in a story should be natural and obvious. Exclamation marks should not be necessary for a reader to understand the joke. I don’t use exclamation points at all in my own short stories. When I edit the To Hull & Back humorous short story anthology every year, I remove them all. Am I right to do so? Feel free to discuss in the comments below.

Canadian author, Olivier Breuluex, recently took me up on the offer at the end of the previous paragraph. Our discussion was interesting, so I created a blog post from it. You can read it here .

writing a funny short story

Learn From Funny Films & Humorous Books

You can learn a lot from others. When you read a funny book, or watch a comedy film or TV programme, enjoy it, but ask questions:

  • What makes you laugh?
  • Is it the situation?
  • Is it something someone has said?
  • Is it how people interact?
  • Is it the strength of character?
  • Is it gags and jokes?

I find watching funny scenes a second time allows me to appreciate the techniques used to make someone laugh. First time through, it makes you chuckle. Second time through, ask yourself why you found it funny. You can then apply the same techniques to your own writing.

The authors I’d suggest reading are Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt and Douglas Adams. Yes, I like funny fantasy stories, and these gentlemen are the best in the field. Whether you like their style or not, you can learn from reading their work.

Here are a list of the funniest books I’ve read:

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  • Paint Your Dragon by Tom Holt
  • Puckoon by Spike Milligan
  • The Discworld Novels by Terry Pratchett (I think there are 44 novels in total – see reference here )
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (and all the sequels) by Douglas Adams
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend

TV Programmes

I think Only Fools and Horses is a great TV series to study. The stories are good, the characters incredibly strong. It’s usually the way they interact and talk to each other that makes the situation funny. John Sullivan had a talented way of switching from quite an emotional scene to something funny in a natural way. You can learn a lot building character from watching that programme – Del Boy and Rodney are incredibly strong and identifiable.

Others that have wide appeal and have been very successful:

  • Absolutely Fabulous
  • Fawlty Towers
  • Garth Marenghi's Darkplace
  • I’m Alan Partridge
  • My Name is Earl
  • Only Fools & Horses
  • Police Squad!
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
  • The Simpsons
  • The Vicar of Dibley

Well, there are many. The ones that make me laugh the most are:

  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Dumb & Dumber
  • Ghostbusters
  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • The Big Lebowski
  • The Blues Brothers
  • The Man with 2 Brains
  • The Naked Gun
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again
  • The Producers
  • There’s Something About Mary
  • This Is Spinal Tap
  • Trading Places
  • Wayne’s World

Humour is Subjective

It’s worth mentioning that humour is subjective. What one person finds hilarious might irritate another. You can never hope to please everyone when writing a funny story, so don’t try to. Select an audience and try and appeal to them.

For example, I tend to write fantasy stories, and add the humour via the methods described in this post. It’s not ‘laugh out loud’ hilarious humour, it’s more subtle and underlying, often giving the stories a dark undertone. This doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I have been successful with the style and had a lot of stories published.

So don’t give up if one person doesn’t like your work. Listen to a wide range of opinions before deciding whether your use of comedy works or not.

Funny Stories

There are a lot of comedy short stories available to read for free in the short stories section of the site. Many are written by me, but there are some by other authors. I am now publishing work from other writers. Please visit my submissions guideline page to learn more.

As a measure of quality control, every story featured on my website has been previously published, either through short story competitions, magazines or writing journals. So each story has been successful and deemed as being publishable by professional editors and competition judges.

Accompanying each story you will find information about how and why it was successful. This is to help other writers learn and apply tips and advice that are proven to work to their own writing.

You can also read lots of humorous short stories in the To Hull & Back anthologies. So far I’ve released two. At the time of writing I’m currently in the third year of running the competition.

You can learn more about the anthologies via the links below:

  • To Hull & Back short story anthology 2016 contains 29 humorous short stories
  • To Hull & Back short story anthology 2015 contains 26 humorous short stories
  • To Hull & Back short story anthology 2014 contains 27 humorous short stories

Useful Links to Other Comedy Resources

Below are some useful links to other posts about writing humour.

  • How Do You Write Good Comedy? by the Independent – features tips from comedy writers like Andy Hamilton, Graham Linehan, Holly Walsh and Ross Noble
  • Comedy Writing Tips by the Guardian – concentrates on comedy script writing

How To Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money

If you found the information in this post useful, you might like my book ‘ How to Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money ’.

It contains lots of very detailed information about my experiences of writing funny short stories and getting them published. I use a lot of real-life case studies in the book, showing the reader whole stories rather than extracts, so they can fully understand how I used the different tips and advice to achieve success. I also share details of how much money I’ve made through writing, giving readers a clear idea of how much work is involved and what they can expect to earn from their own writing.

How to Write a Short Story, book by Christopher Fielden

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Shirley M I spent yesterday learning how to write horror stories so here is another option, many thanks.

Chris Fielden Thanks, Shirley. Good luck with your horror writing :-)

Steph M Useful, thanks Chris. I'm up to over 33,000 words now on my book Top Hat Man. Phew.

Chris Fielden Thanks Steph.

That’s excellent news about the book – quite an achievement. Congratulations :-)

Chris D Hey Chris, I have actually been thinking about the issue of comedy in the modern age a lot... there is an awful lot of political correctness out there and it is interesting to me to see that things that people of our age find (found?) funny severely disturb younger people. I have a number of different projects in various states of disarray no doubt some of which could get me tarred and feathered in certain quarters.

Paul B Thanks Chris, I'm going to start working on a humourous piece this week so thanks.

Chris Fielden Chris - I know what you mean. I tend to ignore being PC – I think it can go too far sometimes. As long as you laugh with others and not at them I think you can poke fun at most things without causing offence. That’s what I like to believe, anyway!

Paul - excellent, good luck with it :-)

Mark F Nice!

Jan D Hello Chris. Humour, as you so rightly say, is subjective. Fantasy and Science Fiction attempts at humour leave me cold. As does resorting to foul language. Wee and poo jokes are hilarious to children and old boys.

I think humour should be used to break down political, cultural and religious barriers. Let's all laugh at ourselves and others. Beneath every successfully funny joke lurks something sad or serious. My interest (I'm 65 soon) is in comedy script writing.

Wishing you continuing success with your short stories.

Chris Fielden Hi Jan, thanks for commenting. I agree - using humour to break down barriers is a good idea.

I wish you the best of luck with your script writing endeavours.

Chris D Thanks for the reply.

I was working all weekend on a long story (10,000 words!) which I have been attempting since 2013 and will eventually finish. In your experience, is there any kind of market for stories of such a length? It has the same kind of realism as your story about the war vet - it's just much, much longer. I know it is sort of a grey area between the short story and novellette/novella family, so I don't want to waste my time sending out to magazines that don't consider that length of story. Any advice most appreciated!

Chris Fielden Hi Chris. The market for stories around the 10K length is a bit limited – most competitions and magazines ask for anywhere up to 8,000 words. But there are magazines out there (and a handful of competitions) that accept stories of that length. You’ll just have to do a bit of research I’m afraid.

Luckily there are some good lists on my site which can help you get started :-)

Margaret M Dear Chris, thank you for your writing advice.  Do you like David Sedaris? I met him in Bournemouth and he was so... nice.  I am a sad elderly (66) woman, with almost constant hip pain and MS. Husband has ME, so you can imagine the fun we have some days.  I write most days and will enter your  To Hull and Back Competition.  At present have RSI, but what's life without whimsy? LOL

Chris Fielden Hi Maggie, sorry to hear about the MS and ME. I'll look forward to reading your entry :-)

Aimee J Hey Chris. Sorry for being a bit of a bother, but does sarcasm generally work well in regards to making a situation humorous?

Chris Fielden Hi Aimee. It can do - it depends on the situation, characters and plot. Just ask yourself whether sarcasm fits and adds to the story.

I think it's subjective really, so there isn't a yes or no answer to that question I'm afraid.

Billy C Thank you for this.

Chris Fielden No problem, Billy :-)

Jeanne J Hey Chris, do you know you're 'shot in the head...' link goes to a pink shopping site? Anyhoo, hope to send you something funnier that.

Chris Fielden Hey Jeanne. Hmm... nice shopping site. Looks like the old site the story used to be on has been hacked so I've removed the link.

Thanks for letting me know - muchos appreciated.

Cheri J Very helpful, thank you!

Chris Fielden No problem, thanks Cheri :-)

Nick B Hi Chris. Brilliant article. I'll be coming back to refer a number of times. As it happens, 2 of my favourite authors are Douglas and Terry. I love the Discworld series - especially those involving the Night Watch characters. I've just started writing again after a 10 yr break. I'm doing fantasy and attempting comedy with it. Two firsts for me. Thank you. Hope I can produce something you would be proud of.

Chris Fielden Thanks very much, Nick. It sounds like we have similar tastes when it comes to reading.

I like the Night Watch stories too. I saw a stage production in London and Paul Darrow (of Blake's 7 fame) played Sam Vimes. It was great.

Anyway. Good luck with your writing. I hope the 10 year break gave you lots of time to come up with some good story ideas :-)

Wesley W It seems I've been making people laugh anyway. I'm wondering, I've got a pile of flash fiction that might raise a laugh, and am thinking I might try one of them.

Chris Fielden Always nice to hear from a fellow humourist, Wesley.

Good idea re flash fiction. There are an ever growing number of opportunities for very short stories. I list many opportunities for flash here .

I hope that's helpful - good luck with your stories and submissions.

Linh N Do you know any comedy podcasts?

Chris Fielden Hi Linh. There are hundreds of them...

I'd recommend just doing a Google search so you can find some that appeal to you.

The BBC is quite a good place to start.

Zoe I This helped me learn a lot of things about writing comedy stories, thanks a lot to Christopher.

Chris Fielden You're welcome Zoe :-)

Ellie A The bottom two links in your "Useful links to other comedy sources" section no longer work.

Chris Fielden Thank you for letting me know, Ellie, very much appreciated. I have removed the offending links.

The copyright of the stories and content published on this website remain with the author.

Christopher Fielden and all the other contributing authors published via this website have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the authors of these works.

The stories and articles on this site are provided for you to read free of charge subject to the condition that they are not, by way of trade or otherwise, copied, lent, sold, hired out, printed or otherwise circulated in any format without the author’s prior consent.

How to Write Comedy — Tips Techniques Script Examples Featured

  • Scriptwriting

How to Write Comedy — Tips, Techniques & Script Examples

A sk any creative writer what the hardest genre to write is and they’ll probably tell you that it’s comedy. That’s because story structure can only bring you so far in comedy writing – the fact of the matter is that if you aren’t funny, you aren’t funny. So how do you become funny? Do you read joke books? No! Like everything else, you practice until you become perfect – well, not perfect per se – most comedy writers would be happy with just okay. We’re going to show you how to write comedy, with script examples from 21 Jump Street and Curb Your Enthusiasm , but first, let’s define comedy writing.

Guide to Comedic Writing

What is comedy writing.

In simplest terms, comedy writing is a genre of writing that is intended to be funny. There’s much more to it than that, but first and foremost, the chief goal is to make the audience laugh. Let’s watch a quick video to hear one of the most successful comedy writers of all-time, Jerry Seinfeld, explain the basics of comedy writing.

Writing Comedy  •  Jerry Seinfeld on How to Write a Joke With The New York Times

Jerry Seinfeld Headshot StudioBinder

Comedy writing is something you don’t see people doing. It’s a secretive thing.

— Jerry Seinfeld

As Seinfeld suggests, comedy writing is a very secretive thing. One reason why is because most comedy writers feel like their material has to be perfect before it’s presented. 

Think about it this way: let’s say you write a dramatic stage play. There’s no way to tell if the audience hated it – except if they fell asleep, then I’d say it’s fair to say they hated it. Now let’s say you write a comedic play. If the audience doesn’t laugh at the jokes, then you know they hated it.

You know, they know, everybody knows – a joke that doesn’t land is a special type of shame . It’s for this reason that comedy writing can feel so personal. The most important thing to remember is that nobody is funny 100% of the time, but by taking inspiration from some of the best, we can improve our craft.

Comedy writing doesn’t have to be a solitary craft. Due to the advent of the internet, comedy is more collaborative now more than ever. This next video explains how the Lonely Island sketch “Dear Sister” helped to usher in a new era of comedy.

How to Write Comedy  •  How ‘Dear Sister’ Changed Comedy by Karsten Runquist

The difference between Seinfeld’s traditionalist advice on comedy writing and Karsten Runquist’s new-age analysis is that one says that comedy is achieved by plot ; the other says that plot is achieved by comedy. Think of memes for example: what makes a meme funny? Well, I’d say memes are funny because somebody doesn’t “get it.”

A meme is like an inside joke between millions of people – but once it breaks out of that “inside” bubble, then it ceases to be funny. This teaches us something essential about comedy writing; almost always, somebody has to be the butt of the joke. No matter how big or small, somebody has to be made fun of. It’s this very notion that makes comedy writing so difficult. 

Rules of Comedy, Explained

Tips and tricks for writing comedy.

One of the most difficult aspects of comedy script writing is finding the right person to perform it. You could write something really clever, but if it’s performed in a tone that’s incongruent to what you mean, then it’s not going to sound funny.

So when writing any sort of comedy, don’t be afraid to add emphasis. That’s true in more ways than one – emphasize the punch-lines to your jokes, emphasize specificity, and emphasize contradictions. 

Like any type of writing, comedy writing relies on conflict . In this scene from Meet the Parents , the family patriarch Jack interrogates his daughter’s boyfriend Greg. Pay attention to how screenwriters Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg entice us with character conflict.

How to Write Comedy  •  Watch the Meet the Parents Lie Detector Test Scene

I wanted to look at this scene for a couple reasons. The first is that it’s a great structural example of how to put together a comedic scene. The mean dad, clueless boyfriend trope is just that... a trope. So how do the writers make it feel refreshing and new?

Well, it starts with emphasis and exaggeration. Jack isn’t just any dad, he’s a former CIA operative. And Greg’s not just a clueless boyfriend, he’s a walking bad-luck charm. So in a structural sense, this relationship is primed for comedic conflict.

Here are five great tips for writing a comedy scene:

  • Take a typical situation and exaggerate it
  • Let tension build
  • Use specificity
  • Embarrass someone
  • Finish with a bang

Now let’s see how Meet the Parents  utilizes these five strategies.

  • Greg is visiting his girlfriend’s family. This is a typical situation – and at some level, it’s something we can all relate to. But it’s exaggerated by Jack’s CIA background.
  • Say you’re the writer of a story like  Meet the Parents  and you have a great structural conflict between two characters (Jack and Greg) – how do you take that tension and build it? Well, start by putting the two characters in close proximity.
  • Specificity is a double-edged sword in comedy writing. Notice how Greg is wearing Jack’s pajamas with the little JB insignia on the chest-pocket? That’s funny. Notice how there are a bunch of pictures of Jack undercover in the CIA? That’s funny. And it’s funny because it’s not forced on us.
  • Jack embarrasses Greg by asking him uncomfortable questions. Situationally, this is funny, and it’s elevated by Robert De Niro’s great deadpan delivery. 
  • Like Jerry Seinfeld said, always save the best joke for last. It’s an expectation in comedy writing that you’re going to end with a bang. In this scene from  Meet the Parents , it’s when Jack asks Greg if he watches porn.

WRITING COMEDY TIPS

How to make your script funny.

Would you believe me when I say there’s a secret technique you can use to instantly make any scene funnier? No, that sounds too good to be true! But alas, it is.

The technique known as irony  – which is defined as being the opposite of what we expect – can turn any scene on its head.

How to Write Comedy Jump Street Irony Example StudioBinder Screenwriting Software

How to Write Comedy  •  21 Jump Street Screenplay

21 Jump Street went through a lengthy rewrite process. In this revision of the script, undercover cops Jenko and Schmidt arrive at a scene somewhat akin to what we see in the original tv show. There’s nothing wrong with the scene as it was originally written – but the final version of the scene shows just how much a difference irony can make.

Here, Jenko takes the lead, expecting to command the crowd like he did in high school. But as Bob Dylan famously said, the times are a-changin’. 

How to Write Comedy  •  Watch 21 Jump Street 

We expect Jenko to be considered “cool.” But instead, he’s condemned. Conversely, we expect Schmidt to be considered “lame.” But instead, he’s celebrated. This is irony . This character dynamic makes 21 Jump Street feel refreshing. If you’re considering writing a comedy script, think about how contrived character stereotypes can be subverted with irony. 

Writing Comedy Taboos

Things to avoid in comedy writing.

Most comedians will tell you that no topic is off-limits in comedy writing. And although that may be true, just remember that it’s really hard to make certain things funny – and you’re not going to win audiences over making jokes about taboo subject matter. 

We’ve all heard the saying “read the room” before, but how do we “read the room” when we’re writing alone? Well, one way is to take notes when you’re out in public, then transcribe them into a routine, sketch, or scene later. If you know Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm , then this process may sound familiar.

This next video explains Larry David’s writing process for Curb in further detail.

Comedy Writing Techniques  •  How to Write Comedy Like Larry David by StoryDive

The reason I bring up Curb in regards to “what to avoid in comedy writing” is because Larry David is a master of navigating that ever-so-delicate line. Take this clip from Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Nine, Ep. 8 for example.

How to Write Humor  •  Study Perspective in this Curb Your Enthusiasm Clip

In this montage scene, a Muslim investigator looks into Larry’s past to see if he deserves a fatwa. In each part of the montage, a delicate subject matter is addressed. Why is it funny? Well, it’s all about perspective. In Curb Your Enthusiasm , Larry is consistently made out to be the bad guy. By framing him as the good guy, we see the ludicrousy of the show’s situations in a new light.

Don’t be afraid to play with perspective. Sometimes, the comedy of a scene is found in a perspective you would’ve never guessed. Consider framing your comedic situations in different ways.

This experimentation will often help you find the best angle to present your jokes.

Comedy lessons from Gene Wilder

We touched on a lot of the foundational aspects of comedy writing, but there’s so much more to it than what we went over here. In this next article, we break down how to direct actors, with special emphasis on how Gene Wilder changed comedy. By studying Wilder’s comedic style, we can learn a lot about how to be a better comedy writer.

Up Next: Directing Comedy Actors →

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Home / Book Writing / Funny Writing Prompts: 50+ Ideas to Get Your Started

Funny Writing Prompts: 50+ Ideas to Get Your Started

Books, novellas, and short stories that can make readers laugh are always in high demand. After all, who doesn't like laughing? Some say it's the best medicine. But, as any stand-up comedian will tell you, comedy is hard.

Luckily, with the right premise, you can craft a funny story that will make readers hungry for more. And that's just what these funny writing prompts will help you do. 

  • Tips on using comedy in your writing.
  • Some humorous books to read for inspiration.
  • Funny creative writing prompts.

Table of contents

  • Know Your Genre
  • Humor Through Character
  • Keep Things Natural
  • Make it Relatable
  • Read Humorous Books
  • Funny Writing Prompts
  • Test Your Funny Book Idea

Tips for Funny Story Writing

Humor is subjective, so a funny story that gets one group of people laughing may not elicit so much as a smile from another group. That's okay. As a writer, it's important to know that not everyone will like your work. But with the tips below, you can position your comedic story (or scene) for the ultimate effect . 

Humor shouldn't be relegated to only comedies. In fact, authors in all different genres use humor to enhance their stories. But before you start shoving jokes into your work in progress, consider the norms of your genre. What do other authors do? Do you even need comedy in your book? If so, how much? 

Even works that are considered comedies aren't all jokes. There need to be peaks and valleys in your story. Because if you're trying to make the reader laugh all the time, they won't be able to catch their breath and settle in for another laughing fit. 

One of the best ways to convey humor is through one of your point of view (POV) characters . Maybe your normally stoic main character has a funny habit of breaking the tension with an offhand remark or a silly phrase that he says at the most inopportune moments.

Likewise, you may create a whole character whose main purpose is comedic relief. This doesn't have to be a POV character, but it can be. An inside joke between two characters can also work well, provided the reader is in on the joke!

Readers know when they're being played to. So if you're being funny just for the sake of it, they'll be able to tell. The humor in your novel or story should have something to do with plot, character development , or story. In other words, comedy should arise naturally from the aspects of your story. 

There's nothing wrong with wanting to make readers laugh, but forcing it will often backfire. 

Most successful stand-up comedians make the mundane hilarious. They take the doldrums of everyday life and provide a new perspective or spin on them. This also works well in storytelling. Sometimes the funniest thing is the one that makes people go, “Oh yeah, it is like that!” 

Whether it be observations about social media, a popular book or TV show, or a twist on the daily grind, it's possible to find comedy all around us. 

You can't expect to sharpen your comedy writing skills without first seeing how other authors do it. The books below are just a few to consider when studying the craft of comedic writing. 

  • Anything by Christopher Moore (fiction).
  • Anything by David Sedaris (memoir). 
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Formatting Has Never Been Easier

Write and format professional books with ease.  Never before has creating formatted books been easier.

Pick a funny writing prompt from the list below to get the creative juices flowing. Since there's a wide range of uses for comedy across all genres, not every prompt below will be suitable for an entire novel. Some are designed to start off a scene or a short story. Others you can use to break through writer's block by writing a poem or a funny anecdote. Do with them whatever you will. They're yours to use freely!

1. Write a scene in which a man is arguing with some unseen character. At the end, it turns out it's his dog. What is the conversation like? Why is it happening?

2. Think about your favorite thing to do on vacation. Now write about a character who's stuck doing that thing over and over again in a time loop.

3. Start a story about two hitmen haggling over who gets to assassinate the known crime lord. 

4. What would happen if animals could talk to humans? If this was normal, what would the world be like?

5. Explore the implications of a modern high school student who finds him or herself alive before the internet was invented. 

6. Start a story in the middle of a bank robbery in progress. But the robbers are elderly men who can't stop bickering. 

7. What would happen if a demon invaded the body of a highly neurotic and eccentric person? Turns out, the demon inside the person allows them to live how they always wanted, but the demon wants to leave. 

8. Write a romance about two people who connect over their shared love of extreme ironing. 

9. Explore the world of a stunt woman. She continues to put her body on the line for the work, but inside she thinks she's the biggest wimp in the world. 

10. In a world of superheroes, the villains have their own support groups where you get to see a very different side of them. Turns out, the villains may not be the real villains of this story. . . 

11. A new drug hits the market that makes everyone happy. Unfortunately, your protagonist is happiest when she's miserable. What does this new “happy” world look like through his eyes?

12. A young man suddenly becomes a viral sensation for his comedy routine. But the sudden fame is more than he can handle. Much more. 

13. Write about a local neighborhood watch group filled with zany characters who must solve the mystery of the missing garden gnomes. 

14. Write about a supervillain's parents. What are they like? Are they proud of their son or daughter?

15. Write about a high school student who learns she can disappear whenever something really embarrassing happens to her. Does she use this newfound power for good or bad?

16. Your protagonist stumbles upon proof that we live in a simulation. How does this change his outlook and actions? Does he try to tell the world?

17. Explore two best friends who are participating in an ongoing prank war that's getting way out of hand. 

18. Start your story with an argument between two rival business owners who eventually become fast friends. 

19. Follow a protagonist who goes outside one day to find that everyone is naked—and looking at her like she's the crazy one. 

20. Start your story with a character successfully outwitting Death to stay alive for just a bit longer. 

21. Write about a doomsday prepper who prepares for every eventuality . . . but this one. 

22. Write about a character who thinks their television is talking to them by name. 

23. Write about a wedding in which everything goes comically wrong—and how the wedding party rallies to make things okay in the end. 

24. Write about a utility worker who stumbles on an underground society of mutants in the city sewers. 

25. Write about a group of friends who get together once a year to fight each other. Why do they do it? What do they get out of this strange fight club?

26. Start a story in which a character is trying to reenact something they've seen on YouTube – with hilarious consequences. 

27. A bumbling father takes it upon himself to deal with the petty crime in his neighborhood. But he stumbles upon a hilarious conspiracy enacted by the homeowners association. 

28. A professional athlete starts having terrible luck, both on and off the field. He does everything he can think of to break the bad streak. 

29. A billionaire CEO decides after a near-death experience to give all his money away. But there are a whole bunch of people who do whatever they can to convince him otherwise. 

30. A woman who's about to be married to an “okay” guy finds a love letter in the mailbox. It has been mailed to her by mistake, and she takes it upon herself to deliver it to the real recipient. 

31. Write about a group of scammers getting into a con war with another group of scammers. 

32. A group of vampires goes on vacation only to find that their arch-enemies the werewolves have laid claim to their favorite spot. 

33. Artificial Intelligence robots are rolled out, but a software glitch makes them act like bumbling idiots who inadvertently threaten the collapse of society. 

34. There's something wrong with the world. Something's just a little off. But your character can't quite figure out what it is. 

35. Explore what it's like at a national liars convention. 

36. A girl realizes she's in a horror movie. But she also knows that she's not the final girl—she's one who dies in the first half!

37. A group of cowboys on a cattle drive in the 1800s wind up getting attacked by bumbling aliens. 

38. Write about a wildlife television show host who's constantly getting attacked by animals. 

39. Write a time travel story in which the character keeps trying to fix her love life only to keep getting thwarted—by herself. 

40. Write about a 4th-grade teacher who wins the lottery and decides to retire. But then her class shows up and begs her to come back to teach them. 

41. Explore a character who can't help but dance every time her favorite song comes on. She lives in perpetual fear of hearing the song while in public. 

42. An irresponsible man ends up having to take care of his five nephews and nieces after tragedy strikes. He learns to be responsible very quickly. 

43. A woman obsessed with American 1970s culture gets the chance to travel back in time. 

44. A man gets a hilarious text message from a random number. Thinking it a clever salesperson, he goes along with the messages. But things soon get way out of control. 

45. After being told, rather rudely, that he tells the same stories over and over again, a man drops everything and goes on an adventure to get some new stories to tell his friends and family. 

46. The utterance of a random word makes a brainwashed secret agent go into assassin mode. Only she turns out to be the worst assassin ever. 

47. A woman who thinks she has the best idea for a new product quits her job in spectacular fashion, only to learn that someone else has already had the idea. 

48. Write an embarrassing poem from one of your characters’ point of view. Why did they write the poem? What did they write it about? What would happen if someone happened upon it?

49. Write a spoof of The War of the Worlds in which the aliens all develop terrible allergies, which only makes things worse for the humans. 

50. Write a few diary or journal prompts for your main character from when they were a teenager. (If they are a teenager, all the better). Make sure to add some cringe to the entries!

Hopefully, the creative writing ideas above have given you some inspiration to use for your next book or short story. You can even take inspiration from a funny joke, your favorite book, or a funny thing you saw on YouTube. Professional writers will tell you that ideas are a dime a dozen. It's the execution that really makes something shine. So pick a fun writing prompt and get to work!

When you're ready to take your writing career forward by publishing your book, it's a good idea to ensure there's a market for your story . And the easiest way to do this is with Publisher Rocket.

You can think of the information you get from Publisher Rocket as the foundation for your writing career—whether you write comedy, drama, horror, or more than one genre. 

With Publisher Rocket, you get insights directly from Amazon on:

  • Keywords – Metadata to position your book on Amazon.
  • Competition – Allowing you to see what's selling and how stiff the competition is.
  • Categories – So you know where people who are looking for books like yours go to find them.
  • Amazon Ads – Helps you quickly configure a list of profitable keywords for running ads.

Check out Publisher Rocket here to get started.

Dave Chesson

When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

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Comedy Writing Prompts: 15+ Ideas To Tickle Your Readers’ Funny Bone

  • August 27, 2022

Comedy is a challenging genre to get right.  However, even the funniest short story can capture a reader’s attention when done right.

You can start writing a well-structured story with interesting characters and even a surprise ending, but it’s not a good comedy if you’re not funny.

Below, we’ve included a list of over 15 comedy writing prompts to help you get started. Later, we’ll explore how to write great comedy by considering its crucial elements.

Comedy writing prompts

The great thing about comedy writing is that there are often several potential narratives that can turn out to be hilarious. It can start from a running joke you have with everyday company or even awkward moments that made you terribly upset. The possibilities to write a story that can be your turning point as a writer, are limitless.

Use the funny short story prompts below to inspire your own short story, script, novel, or screenplay idea! Use these prompts creatively and interestingly by imagining more than just the first narrative or theme that comes to mind.

  • The world as we know it has ended. A lone man walks miles to find some remnants of civilization. In the distance, he sees a shadowy figure walking toward him. As the two get close, the man recognizes the figure. It’s the same boy who always used to sit next to him at school.
  • A nervous first-year high school student sees a picture of his grandfather on the wall in the school hallway. ‘Hey!’, says the janitor. ‘I heard that you’re Jimmy’s grandson? Wow, what a guy. Good luck living up to that reputation!’
  • The first day of a girl’s new retail job is Christmas Eve. She’s never worked in retail before.
  • A young man realizes he’s terrible at making decisions, and his procrastination is holding him back in life. To overcome his mental obstacles, he put his life in the hands of a pair of dice. For every decision that needs to be made, he rolls the dice.
  • A murder mystery writer experiences writer’s block. He can’t seem to get deeper inside the mind of his protagonist. One night, he has a revelation. The only way to know the true feelings of his character is to experience them firsthand.
  • When you come home after a long day’s work, you rant to your cat about all the drama in the office, your disdain for your job, and how tired you always are. Sick of hearing about it, your cat speaks up and tells you to take more control of your life.
  • A boy who has just entered puberty experiences frequent breaks in his voice. Write about his excuses as to why he can’t come to the board right now to present his project and a teacher who insists.
  • A tailor orders mannequins online. She won’t be home when they arrive, so she asks her friend to sign for them. Plans go awry, and she won’t even make it home that evening, but she’s got a presentation in her studio the following morning. Her friend offers to help by setting up the mannequins around the space. When the tailor arrives home late that night, the mannequins are not exactly what she ordered.
  • The main character wakes up one day and can’t stop singing everything she says.
  • A fictional villain wakes up one morning and realizes the error of his ways. Overcome with guilt but also filled with determination to turn his life around, he becomes a force for good. Still, his reputation precedes him, so no matter how good he does, people still treat him like a villain.
  • A recently single and lonely waitress works at one of the most popular restaurants in the city on Valentine’s day. Jealous of all the love and affection she sees around her, compounded by the rudeness of her customers, she decides to get her revenge on love.
  • Being the good Samaritan you are, you decide to help a sweet old lady carry her bags from the store to her car on a hot summer day. Naturally curious, you peek into one of the bags on the short walk and see a rope, tape, and pink, fluffy handcuffs.
  • Write a blind date spoof scene. A new friend sets you up on a blind date. They don’t tell you much about your date, except that they are beautiful and just your type. You notice your ex sitting there waiting for someone when you show up to the date.
  • In need of some extra income, you decide to enter a trial for a new pharmaceutical drug. After some weeks, you don’t notice any changes, so you figure you must have received the placebo. One morning you wake up, and your physical features have almost completely changed and you have all those ticks. The drug’s effect on you was previously unheard of.
  • The house a woman lived in as a child doesn’t look quite the same. Screams from the basement widen her eyes. She rushes to investigate and discovers a scurry of squirrels in the basement. A loud bang upstairs frightens her, but it’s the wind that has slammed the door shut. The ghosts in the house don’t need to scare the woman; she’s already frightened of everything. The ghosts just watch.
  • A writer is not just a writer. He also unwittingly creates real-life events by writing his stories. Usually, he writes comedy. However, funny stories aren’t inspiring him anymore, so he branches out into crime fiction.
  • A young intern at a film production company is excited on his first day. After running for coffee, calling actors, and taking notes, his boss tasks him with a completely absurd job.

comedy writing prompts

How to write comedy

Writing comedy isn’t always easy, but with the basic tips and considerations below, you’ll find it a lot easier.

1. Exaggerate a normal situation

Take a completely normal situation like waiting at a bus stop or going on a date. Exaggerate the situation by adding an unusual element to it.

For example, the bus is unusually late at the bus stop, and one of the other people waiting is someone you dislike. On a date, amp up the situation by linking the characters in an unexpected way.

2. Build tension

Comedy and horror writing have something important in common. They both rely on the build-up of tension for effect; just as a ghost story requires tension to be scary, a funny story also needs a build-up. When writing comedy, don’t jump to the joke.

Let your reader slowly understand that the situation is not normal, but don’t give it all away just yet. Be suggestive and implicit before you reveal any major plot points or punchlines.

3. Surprise and expectations

Unexpected turns of events create funny stories .

Imagine the smug confidence of a man who believes his new car will impress his colleagues and the disappointment he feels when another colleague shows up with a bigger, faster, newer car. A character thinks they will go one way and reveal their emotions about it too quickly; then, things go another way.

4. Context and timing

Good comedy is about timing and context. Get these two elements right , and you’re likelier to make a reader laugh. You may want to write a cool or funny sentence for the sake of it, but without context and a good build-up, your joke will fall flat. Utilize effective grammar and sentence structure to deliver lines and reveal information that stands out.

comedy writing prompts

Why use comedy writing prompts?

Prompts provide creative writing practice opportunities, and you should take all the opportunities to practice as a writer looking to create a humorous story or novel .

You are encouraged to write more funny story prompts based on those above.

It’s wise to create several story ideas and link them with a common theme, an ordinary character, or even an everyday object. That way, you can write a collection of funny short stories, rather than just one.

One of the most crucial habits to develop as a comedy writer is observation skills. The best comedy writers, and writers in general, are keen observers of human behavior and can convey that behavior in a creative and interesting way through different perspectives in their writing. 

Comedy writers manage to create stories from what they see everyday. They look at all the details of challenging and inconvenient situations they come across and let their creative mind float to incorporate these in the story smoothly. Very often, the funniest jokes are so funny because they relate to actual behaviors that seem absurd when viewed through the lens of a story.

On a final note, remember that comedy relies heavily on empathy . Readers can’t connect with characters and situations that lie beyond their experience (or possible experience). 

As such, it’s effective to incorporate daily situations and normal behaviors to give context to a situation. Once your readers can imagine being part of the situation you write, they’re far more likely to appreciate the funny twist or quick and clever ending of your novel.

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55 Funny Writing Prompts To Inspire Your Inner Comedian

Hands up if you’ve enjoyed a funny series or movie lately and hoped the writers were well-paid for their work? 

Laughter is good medicine.

So, think of the comedy writing prompts in this post as our contribution to making the world a healthier place.

If you love to make people laugh but you’re struggling to think of funny topics to write about , we’ve got you covered. 

The real challenge is deciding which prompt to use first. 

Funny Writing Prompts 

Enjoy this list of 55 funny writing prompts. And keep track of those that stand out for you. 

1. Write about someone trying to explain to a teacher that their dog did, in fact, eat their homework.

2. Write about two characters — with entirely different lives and personalities- switching bodies.

funny writing prompts

3. Write about a little boy accidentally switching bodies with his dad for a day.

4. Write about someone playing the perfect April Fools Day prank.

5. Write about someone who accidentally buys a fish that can talk — and it isn’t exactly polite.

6. Write about someone who is friends with a hero and a villain. They don’t keep this a secret, but it does make for some interesting conversations.

7. Write about a hero and a villain rescheduling their battle due to a scheduling conflict.

8. Write about a superhero whose greatest threat is their younger sibling.

9. Write an analysis paragraph that makes an ordinary object sound infinitely complicated.

10. Write a poem about Tupperware.

11. Write about the origin of an inside joke.

12. Write a story about someone who can’t stop saying what they think — much to the dismay of those around them.

13. Write a character with a personality based on your favorite song.

14. Write a comedy script about a food that you hate.

15. Write a story about a deck of cards coming to life. How do their personalities mix with each other?

16. Write about someone trying to escape the afterlife.

17. Write a story about a great historical figure learning how to use the internet. What do they find online when they Google themselves? Do they like it?

18. Write about a character who wakes up to find out the world is ending. Even stranger than that, everyone around them is celebrating.

19. Write a story that begins with the words, “Tuesday is always the worst day to rob a bank.”

20. Write about a woman who promised her firstborn child to several different witches. Now that a baby is on the way, she has to deal with a custody battle.

funny writing prompts

21. Write about a hero who accidentally falls in love with the daughter of their arch enemy.

22. Write about an alien race that believes ants are the most organized civilization on earth.

23. Write about Greek deities taking a class on Greek mythology. Which parts of the curriculum do they have issues with?

24. Write a story about Ares — the Greek god of war — getting trapped in the body of a preschooler.

25. Write a story about a chicken that accidentally hatches a dragon egg — much to the concern of the local population.

26. Write a story about an immortal who keeps finding increasingly creative ways to avoid the grim reaper.

27. Write about someone who takes up a career as a nanny. The adorable baby they’ve been hired to care for is, unfortunately, the antichrist.

28. Write a slow-burn love story that is narrated by a very impatient narrator.

29. Write a story in which the narrator hates the main character. This leads to lots of passive-aggressive side comments throughout the story.

30. Write a story that begins with the words, “Unfortunately, fire is not the solution to every problem.

31. Write a short story about a burned-out retail employee deciding to spend his last day messing with the worst customers. 

32. Write about a farmer who wakes up able to understand what the animals on the farm are saying — on the day he was planning to butcher some of them for food.

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33. Write a story about a famous Hollywood paparazzo who’s decided to retire and finds himself the object of unwanted attention (for reasons he’s about to learn). 

34. Write a story where you agree to house-sit a new “smart home” for a famous celebrity. Turns out the house is a bit glitchy. And it all begins in the bathroom.

funny writing prompts

35. You’ve just finished a string of speed dates and are preparing to spend the evening alone when your attractive new neighbor asks you to watch their pet rock. 

36. Write about a support group where members meet every month to discuss their mistakes and to “say anything.” 

37. Your cat wakes you up one day to let you know his kind have taken over the world. If you want to continue living, you’re now his “personal assistant.” 

38. The dogs of the neighborhood are meeting to build a resistance to the worst humans in the area. You follow your dog one evening and learn the truth. 

39. Write about something you should NOT have tried at home — but you did, anyway, with more or less predictable consequences. 

40. You buy something online and are so excited about the money you’ve saved — until it shows up. 

41. You’ve started a blog based on interviews with villains, and your first interview guest has just arrived at your agreed-upon meeting spot.  

42. Write a short story about a waitress who just dumped her boyfriend spending Valentine’s Day working at a restaurant, serving over-the-top romantic couples.

43. You’ve been holding it together, but when your grocery bag rips open as you’re crossing the street, something snaps… and you turn into a dragon. 

44. The pharmacy absent-mindedly packages the wrong prescription for you. Fortunately, the mistake isn’t fatal to you — but it does have consequences. 

45. Your new date drags you to a coffee shop that’s hosting local comedy routines, where you find, to your horror, that your oversharing dad is the main attraction. 

46. You’re answering an ad for a local “expert” who promises they can rid you of writer’s block for the rest of your life. The contract is unusual, to put it mildly.

47. After days of frustrating writer’s block, a breakthrough comes at the worst possible moment. And you can’t help yourself. 

48. You’ve just converted an old school bus into a mobile home to travel the country,  and after advertising for a traveling companion, you’re interviewing the top five. 

49. You’ve just finished a high-stakes version of rock-paper-scissors. You’re one of the “lucky ones.” 

50. Write a story that starts with “I hereby resign my position as neighborhood tooth fairy for the following reasons…”  

51. You’re at an open house for a property you’re looking to buy, and you hear a loud bang. You turn to see a plume of smoke rising from the garage next door. 

52. Write about an embarrassing moment that still makes you cringe when you remember it — but add a twist. 

funny writing prompts

53. You’ve decided to be a stand-up comedian, and the next day, you hear a laugh track every time you say something out loud. Was it always there?

54. You agree to a blind date only to come face to face with your arch-nemesis from school. 

55. You’re a superhero interviewing candidates for a sidekick position. One of your interviewees is your favorite barista, who also happens to be a supervillain. 

Now that you’ve looked through the whole list, which funny writing prompts stand out as your favorites? 

And how are you most inclined to begin your next story? 

  • With a bit of dialogue?
  • With a quick dive into an active disaster scenario?
  • With a pithy summation of a lesson learned the hard way?

Think about how some of your favorite stories begin. Then commit to choosing one of these prompts today and making it your own. 

Which will you write about first? 

Wanting to write the next best comedy series but don't know where to start? Enjoy our curated list of funny writing prompts that will surely make your readers laugh.

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101 Hilarious (or Slightly Amusing) Comedic Story Prompts

writing a funny short story

Do you need some help conjuring compelling comedy ideas? Sometimes reading simple comedic story prompts is the easiest way to find them.

Most writers are often asked,  “Where do you get your ideas from?”  A majority of the time, writers find it difficult to answer that question.

We get our ideas from a plethora of sources — news headlines, novels, television shows, movies, our lives, our fears, our phobias, etc. They can come from a scene or moment in a film that wasn’t fully explored. They can come from a single visual that entices the creative mind — a seed that continues to grow and grow until the writer is forced to finally put it to paper or screen.

In the spirit of helping writers find those seeds, here we offer 101 originally conceived and hilarious — or at the very least, slightly humorous — story prompts that you can use as inspiration for your next horror story.

They may inspire screenplays, novels, short stories, or even smaller moments that you can include in what stories you are already writing or what you will create in your upcoming projects.

Check our our other story prompt lists here!

1. Two opposing football coaches from rival schools fall in love with each other.

2. A man is afraid of everything.

3. A mom is obsessed with wanting to be popular amongst her teenage daughter's friends and peers.

4. A past arcade game champion from the 1980s quits his job to travel the country getting high scores on classic arcade game consoles.

5. A world where cats and dogs rule Earth.

6. Mark Twain is transferred into the future to experience what life is like now.

7. Someone believes that they are an amazing athlete, but nothing could be further from the truth.

8. A character desperate for a job accepts a position as an interpreter, but can't actually speak the native language.

9. A bigot's soul is transferred into a minority's body.

10. An egotistical genius is suddenly stripped of their intelligence.

11. An unethical CEO of a superstore is ordered by the court to work a month as a cashier.

12. A cowboy is forced to work in the corporate world.

13. A male mermaid falls in love with a female castaway.

14. Mrs. Claus is forced to deliver presents on Christmas after her husband runs off with a stripper.

15. A janitor enacts hilarious daily revenge on the students that mock him.

16. A man finds a loophole to enter the Miss Universe contest.

17. A disgraced angel who hates humans is forced to live amongst them.

18. A mother and her teenage son switch bodies.

19. The world's unluckiest man.

20. An Uber/taxi driver picks up a doppelganger.

writing a funny short story

21. A world where everybody suddenly tells the truth no matter what the consequences.

22. A pastor is accidentally sent to Hell for a missionary trip.

23. A talented but laid-off chef is forced to take a job in a fast food joint.

24. A group of promiscuous high school friends decides to live like do-good virgins to win the heart of a new student.

25. What if Romeo and Juliet hated each other?

26. Someone dies, only to see that their childhood wish of returning to life as a dog comes true.

27. Someone that faints at the sight of blood becomes a vampire.

28. A man discovers that's he's actually a robot.

29. An alternate universe where adults are the children and kids run the world.

30. A man suffers from a strange mental disorder that forces him to communicate only through puns.

31. High school friends of the opposite sex vow to marry each other by 40 if they're still single — only to finally reunite at a high school reunion and discover they can't stand each other, but don't want to be alone.

32. A tone-deaf singer trying to make it as a performer.

33. An egotistical Dungeons & Dragons player wakes up within the world of their campaign.

34. Pranking gets out of hand in an office building.

35. A man finds any way he can to get his wife to divorce him — but none of it works.

36. A marriage counselor that has been married five times.

37. The world's worst beekeeper.

38. The world's worst soccer player that is only on the team because their father coaches.

39. An otherwise innocent priest is disenchanted with the church, quits, and decides to make up for lost time by sinning — but their conscience is making it very difficult.

40. The world's worst hunter.

41. The angel and devil on one's shoulders are actually real.

42. A man afraid of the water decides to confront his fear by visiting the world's biggest waterpark.

writing a funny short story

43. A man afraid of clowns decides to confront his fear by attending clown school.

44. A woman is literally afraid of her own shadow.

45. The country's funniest comedian decides to run for president as a joke — and wins.

46. The world of enthusiastic parents and coaches during a week-long soccer tournament.

47. A group of childhood friends reunites for their 25th reunion only to learn that each of them has undergone drastic changes in their genders and sexualities.

48. A character obsessed with Tom and Jerry cartoons is thrust into that world.

49. The son of a secret agent is nothing like his father.

50. A princess from another country decides to go incognito and attend an American college.

51. A prince from a male-dominated society comes to America.

52. The opposite of vertigo — the fear of being too close to the ground.

53. A woman has Sinistrophobia — the fear of objects to your left.

54. A millennial who can't detach from technology is forced to go camping.

55. A romantic comedy about two dogs that fall in love against all the odds.

56. Someone that hates horror movies because the characters make stupid mistakes is thrust into a world where those scenarios play out.

57. Dogs and cats, living together.

58. The frog that was turned into a prince turns back into a frog after the princess divorces him.

59. A millennial who can't detach from technology is transported to 1980s.

60. A hipster who wishes they could live in the simpler times of the 1800s gets their wish and realizes how hard that life really was.

61. A Little House on the Prairie fan wishes they could live in that world and realizes how hard that life really was.

62. A TV personality is a fake Shark expert on a Shark Week show.

63. A popular TV Chef that can't really cook is hired by the White House to cook for the inaugural ball.

writing a funny short story

64. An egotistical President of the United States decides to pull a publicity stunt for the upcoming election — he wants to be the first president in space.

65. A family wakes up to discover that their dog, two cats, and two frogs can now talk.

66. A family is transported to the land of Oz only to be mistaken as witches because of their smartphones.

67. Unappreciative twin brother and sister are transported into the bodies of their father (brother) and mother (sister) at their birth and get a taste of what it was like raising twins.

68. Unappreciative twin brother and sister are transported into the bodies of their father (sister) and mother (brother) at their birth and get a taste of what it was like raising twins.

69. Parents travel into the future to see what their children are like — and the results are not that great.

70. Grandparents welcome their six grandchildren for a week's vacation; only the parents never come back.

71. A group of children start an underground candy factory and run it like a drug cartel.

72. A group of soccer moms start an underground cupcake factory and run it like a drug cartel.

73. A bunch of bored fathers that binge The Sopranos decides to start a suburban mafia — but they are a far cry from gangsters.

74. A farmer decides to open a knock-off of Disneyland, complete with lackluster versions of Pirates of the Caribbean , The Jungle Cruise , It's a Small World , and many other iconic Disney rides.

75. The competitive world of belly flop competitions.

76. The competitive world of cannonball diving.

77. The competitive world of adult go-cart racing.

78. The competitive world of minigolf tournaments.

79. Neighbors living in Midwest suburbia decide to get into the lucrative world of internet couples pornography.

80. A white family wants to open up a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown.

81. A group of children obsessed with 1980s movies decides to remake the classics.

writing a funny short story

82. A group of children playing hide and seek in their basement discover old VHS tapes and have no clue how to play them — leading to an adventurous journey of mystery and discovery.

83. A middle school decides to run school elections like the presidential race and prove to the world how childish adults in the political world really are.

84. A grownup butt dials their childhood phone number. Guess who answers?

85. A priest, a rabbi, and a monk walk into a bar.

86. The world's worst fistfight between two suburban dads goes viral.

87. A world where humans evolved from sloths.

88. A white-collar prisoner does everything he can to return to prison when he's released at an old age.

89. A spoof of The Shawshank Redemption where the protagonist is an idiot that makes the most stupid mistakes and gets caught at every escape attempt.

90. The world's easiest prison to escape.

91. A hardcore rapper that actually didn't grow up in the hood.

92. A mom that has had enough of her spoiled children and husband plans a vacation for herself.

93. A man and his best friend, his dog, switch bodies.

94. A woman and her best friend, a cat, switch bodies.

95. A movie buff that is sick of body switch movies actually switches bodies with someone.

96. The competitive world of the Summer Redneck Games —classic events include the toilet seat horseshoe toss, watermelon seed spitting, mud pit belly flop.

97. The competitive world of Quidditch.

98. The world of Renaissance fairs.

99. The world of cosplayers.

100. A 25th high school reunion committee decides to do an adult prom, leading to mirrored drama from twenty-five years ago.

101. A blogger trying to concoct a list of 101 hilarious (or slightly amusing) comedic story prompts runs out of ideas when he reaches the end of the list.

writing a funny short story

Share this with your writing peers or anyone that loves a funny story. Have some prompts of your own? Share them through comments on Facebook posts or Twitter retweets!

Keep writing.

Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.

He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries  Blackout , starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter  @KenMovies

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writing a funny short story

The Write Practice

Top 100 Short Story Ideas

by Joe Bunting | 128 comments

Do you want to write but just need a great story idea? Or perhaps you have too many ideas and can’t choose the best one? Well, good news. We’ve got you covered.

Below are one hundred short story ideas for all your favorite genres. You can use them as a book idea, as writing prompts for writing contests , for stories to publish in literary magazines , or just for fun!

Use these 100 story ideas to get your creative writing started now.

Editor’s note: This is a recurring guide, regularly updated with ideas and information.

100 Top Short Story Ideas

If you're in a hurry, here's my 10 best story ideas in brief, or scroll down for the full version.

Top 10 Story Ideas

  • Tell the story of a scar.
  • A group of children discover a dead body.
  • A young prodigy becomes orphaned.
  • A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost.
  • A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her.
  • A talented young man's deepest fear is holding his life back. 
  • A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune.
  • A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate.
  • A long journey is interrupted by a disaster.
  • A young couple run into the path of a psychopath.

The Write Structure

Why Creative Writing Prompts Are Helpful

Below, you'll find our best creative writing prompts and plot ideas for every genre, but first, why do we use prompts? Is it just a waste of time, or can they actually help you? Here are three reasons we  love writing prompts at The Write Practice:

1. Practice the Language!

Even for those of us who are native English speakers, we're all on a language journey to go from beginners to skilled writers. To make progress on this language journey, you have to practice, and at The Write Practice, believe it or not, we're really into practice! Creative writing prompts are easy, fun ways to practice.

Use the prompts below to practice your storytelling and use of language. The more you practice, the better of a writer you'll become.

2. When you have no ideas and are stuck.

Sometimes, you want to write, but you can't think up any ideas. You could either just sit there, staring at a blank page, or you could find a few ideas to help you get started. Even better if the list of ideas is curated from our best plot ideas over the last decade that we've been publishing lessons, writing exercises, and prompts.

Use the story ideas below to get your writing started. Then when your creativity is warmed up, you'll start to come up with your own ideas!

3. To develop your own ideas.

Maybe you do have an idea already, but you're not sure it's good. Or maybe you feel like it's just missing some small piece to make it better. By reading other ideas, and incorporating your favorites into your   story, you can fill your plot holes and generate creative ideas of your own.

Use the story ideas below to develop your own ideas.

4. They're fun!

Thousands of writers use the prompts below every month, some at home, some in classrooms, and even a few pros at their writing “office.” Why? Because writing prompts can be fun. They get your creativity started, help you come up with new ideas of your own, and often take your writing in new, unexpected directions.

Use the plot ideas to have more fun with writing!

How to Write a Story

One last thing before we get to the 100 story ideas, let’s talk about how to write a great short story . (Already know how to write a great story? No problem. Just skip down to the ideas below.)

  • First, read stories. If you’ve never read a story, you’re going to have a hard time writing one. Where do you find great stories? There are a lot of places, but check out our list of  46 Literary Magazines  we’ve curated over here .
  • Write your story in a single sitting. Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible, and if you’re writing a short story , try to write it in one sitting. Trust me, this works. Everyone hates being interrupted when they’re telling compelling stories. Use that to your advantage and don’t stop writing until you’ve finished telling yours.
  • Read your draft. Read your story through once, without changing anything. This will give you a sense of what work it needs going forward.
  • Write a premise. After reading your first draft, get your head around the main idea behind your story by summarizing your story in a one sentence premise. Your premise should contain four things: a character, a goal, a situation, and a special sauce. Not sure what that means or how to actually do that? Here’s a full premise writing guide .
  • Write, edit, write, and edit. Good writing is rewriting. Use your second draft to fill in the plot holes and cut out the extraneous scenes and characters you discovered when you read the first draft in step #2. Then, polish up your final draft on the next round of edits.
  • Submit! Real writers don’t keep their writing all to themselves. They share it. Submit your story to a literary magazine , an anthology series , enter it into a writing contest , or even share it with a small group of friends. And if it gets rejected, don’t feel bad. You’ll be in good company.

Want to know more? Learn more about how to write a great short story here .

Our 100 Best Short Story Ideas, Plot Ideas, and Creative Writing Prompts

Ready to get writing? Here are our 100 best short story ideas to kickstart your writing. Enjoy!

10 Best General Short Story Ideas

Our first batch of plot ideas are for any kind of story, whether a spy thriller or a memoir of your personal life story. Here are the best story ideas:

  • Tell the story of a scar, whether a physical scar or emotional one. To be a writer, said Stephen King, “The only requirement is the ability to  remember every scar .”
  • A group of children discover a dead body. Good writers don’t turn away from death, which is, after all, the  universal human experience. Instead, they look it directly into its dark face and describe what they see on the page.
  • A young prodigy becomes orphaned. Orphans are uniquely vulnerable, and as such, they have the most potential for growth.
  • A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost. What do Edgar Allen Poe, Ron Weasley, King Saul from the Bible, Odysseus, and Ebenezer Scrooge have in common? They all encountered ghosts!
  • A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her. “In life every ending is just a new beginning,” says Dakota Fanning’s character in Uptown Girls.
  • A talented young man’s deepest fear is holding his life back. Your character’s biggest fear is your story’s secret weapon. Don’t run from it, write about it.
  • A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune. Not all fortunes are good. Sometimes discovering a fortune will destroy your life.
  • A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate (literally bumps into him). In film, this is called the “meet cute,” when the hero bumps into the heroine in the coffee shop or the department store or the hallway, knocking her books to the floor, and forcing them into conversation.
  • A long journey is interrupted by a disaster. Who hasn’t been longing to get to a destination only to be delayed by something unexpected? This is the plot of  Gravity ,  The Odyssey , and even  Lord of the Rings .
  • A young couple run into the path of a psychopath. Monsters, whether people who do monstrous things or scaly beasts or a monster of a natural disaster, reveal what’s really inside a person. Let your character fall into the path of a monster and see how they handle themselves.

Now that you have an idea, learn exactly what to do with it.  Check out my new book The Write Structure which helps writers take their ideas and write books readers love. Click to check out  The Write Structure  here.

More Short Story Ideas Based on Genre

Need more ideas? Here are ideas based on whichever literary genre you write. Use them as character inspiration, to start your own story, or borrow pieces to generate your own ideas. The only rule is, have fun writing!

By the way,  for more story writing tips for each these plot types, check out our full guide to the 10 types of stories here .

10 Thriller Story Ideas

A thriller is any story that “thrills” the reader—i.e., gets adrenaline pumping, the heart racing, and the emotions piqued.

Thrillers come in all shapes and forms, dipping freely into other genres. In other words, expect the unexpected!

Here are a few of my favorite thriller story ideas :

Rosa Rivera-Ortiz is an up-and-coming lawyer in a San Diego firm. Held back by her ethnicity and her gender, she works twice as hard as her colleagues, and she’s as surprised as anyone when she’s requested specifically for a high-profile case. Bron Welty, an A-list actor and action star, has been arrested for the murder of his live-in housekeeper. The cop heading the case is older, ex-military, a veteran of more than one war, and an occasional sufferer of PTSD. Rosa’s hired to defend the movie star; and it seems like an easy win until she uncovers some secrets that not only make her believe her client is guilty, but may be one of the worst serial killers in the past two decades… and he knows she found out .

It’s the Cold War. Sergei, a double-agent for the CIA working in Berlin, is about to retire when he’s given one final mission: he’s been asked to “defect” to the USSR to help find and assassinate a suspected double-agent for the Kremlin. Sergei is highly trusted, and he’s given to understand that this mission is need-to-know only between him and very few superior officers. But as he falls deeper into the folds of the Iron Curtain, he begins to suspect that his superior officer might just be the mole, and the mark Sergei’s been sent to kill is on the cusp of exposing the leak.

It is 1800. A lighthouse on a barren cliff in Canada. Two lighthouse keepers, German immigrants, are alone for the winter and effectively cut off from the rest of the world until the ice thaws. Both Wilhelm and Matthias are settled in for the long haul with warm clothes, canned goods, and matches a-plenty. Then Wilhelm starts hearing voices. His personal belongings disappear from where he’d placed them, only to reappear in strange spots—like the catwalk, or dangling beneath the spiral stair knotted in brown twine. Matthias begs innocence. Little by little, Wilhelm grows convinced that Matthias is trying to convince him (Wilhelm) to kill himself. Is the insanity real, or is this really Matthias’ doing? And if it is real, what will he do to defend himself? There are so many months until the thaw. 

thriller story ideas

20 Mystery Story Ideas

Enjoy a good whodunit? Then you’ll love these mystery story ideas .

Here are a few of my favorites:

Ever hear the phrase, “It is not who fired the shot but who paid for the bullet?” This is a philosophy Tomoe Gozen lives by. Brave and clever, Tomoe follows clues until she learns who ordered the murder: Emperor Antoku himself. But why would the emperor of Japan want to kill a lowly soldier?

Mystery writer Dan Rodriguez takes the subway every day. Every day, nothing happens. He wears earbuds and a hoodie; he’s ignored, and he ignores. Then one evening, on his way home from a stressful meeting with his publisher, Dan is startled out of his funk when a frantic Middle-Eastern man knocks him over at a dead run, then races up the stairs—pursued by several other thugs. The Middle-Eastern man is shot; and Dan discovers a mysterious package in the front pocket of his hoodie. What’s inside, and what does he need to do to survive the answer?

A headless corpse is found in a freshly-dug grave in Arkansas. The local police chief, Arley Socket, has never had to deal with more than missing gas cans and treed cats. His exploration of this weird murder digs up a mystery older than the 100-year-old town of Jericho that harkens all the way back to a European blood-feud.

story ideas

20 Romance Story Ideas

Ready to write a love story? Or perhaps you want to create a subplot with a secondary character? We've got ideas for you!

Hint: When it comes to romance, a sense of humor is always a good idea. Have fun! Here are a few of my favorite love story ideas :

She’s a cop. He’s the owner of a jewelry store. A sudden rash of break-ins brings her to his store over and over and over again, until it becomes obvious that he might be tripping the alarm on purpose—just to see her. That’s illegal—but she’s kind of falling for him, too. Write the moment she realizes she has to do something about this crazy illicit courtship.

Colorado Animal Rescue has never been more challenging than after that zoo caught on fire. Sally Cougar (no jokes on the name, or she’ll kill you) tracks down three missing tiger cubs, only to find they’ve been adopted by millionaire Bryce Champion. Thanks to an antiquated law on the books, he legally has the right to keep them. It’s going to take everything Sally has to get those tiger cubs back.

He’s a museum curator with a fetish for perfection. No one’s ever gotten close to him; how could they? They’re never as perfect as the portraits, the sculptures, the art that never changes. Then one day, an intern is hired on—a young, messy, disorganized intern, whose hair and desk are in a constant state of disarray. The curator is going half-mad with this walking embodiment of chaos; so why can’t the he stand the thought of the intern leaving at the end of their assistantship?

20 romance story ideas

20 Sci-Fi Story Ideas

From the minimum-wage-earning, ancient-artifact-hunting time traveller to the space-exploring, sentient dinosaurs, these sci-fi writing prompts will get you set loose your inner nerd.

Here are a few of my favorite sci-fi ideas :

In a future society, neural implants translate music into physical pleasure, and earphones (“jacking in”) are now the drug of choice. Write either from the perspective of a music addict, OR the Sonforce agent (sonance + enforcer) who has the job of cracking down.

It’s the year 5000. Our planet was wrecked in the great Crisis of 3500, and remaining human civilization survives only in a half dozen giant domed cities. There are two unbreakable rules: strict adherence to Life Quality (recycling doesn’t even begin to cover these laws), and a complete ban on reproduction (only the “worthy” are permitted to create new humans). Write from the perspective of a young woman who just discovered she’s been chosen to reproduce—but she has no interest in being a mother.

So yeah, ancient Egypt really was “all that” after all, and the pyramids turn out to be fully functional spaceships (the limestone was to preserve the electronics hidden inside). Write from the perspective of the tourist exploring the ancient society who accidentally turns one on.

sci-fi story ideas

20 Fantasy Story Ideas

Need a dose of sword-in-the-stone, hero and/or heroine packed coming-of-age glory?  We love fantasy stories!

Here are a few of my favorite fantasy story ideas:

Bored teenaged wizards throwing a graduation celebration.

Uncomfortable wedding preparation between a magic wielding family tree and those more on the Muggle side of things.

A fairy prince who decides to abandon his responsibilities to become a street musician.

Just try to not have fun writing (or even just reading!) these fantasy writing prompts.

fantasy story ideas

The Secret to Choosing the Best Story Idea

Stories, more than any other artistic expression, have the power to make people care. Stories have the ability to change people’s lives.

But to write a great story, a life-changing story, don’t just write about what your characters did, said, and saw. Ask yourself, “Where do I fit in to this story? What is my personal connection to this story?”

Robert Frost said this:

If you can connect your personal story to the story you’re writing, you will not only be more motivated to finish your story, you might just be able to change the lives of your readers.

Next Step: Write Your Best Story

No matter how good your idea, writing a story or a book can be a long difficult process. How do you create an outline, come up with a great plot, and then actually  finish  it?

My new book  The Write Structure  will help. You'll learn how to take your idea and structure a strong plot around it. Then you'll be guided through the exact process I've used to write dozens of short stories and over fifteen books.

You can learn more about   The Write Structure  and get your copy here.

Get The Write Structure here »

Have a great short story idea?  We'd love to hear it. Share it in the comments !

Choose one of these ideas and write a short story in one sitting (aim for 1,000 words or less!). When you're finished, share your story in the practice box below (or our latest writing contest ) for feedback from the community. And if you share, please be sure to comment on a few stories by other writers.

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Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

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Funny Stories

50+ Short Funny Stories That Will Crack You Up In 60 Seconds

January Nelson

I curated these funny stories from funny Tumblr stories . Get ready for a hurricane of LOL as you read all these funny short stories.

1 . Now that’s what I call stupid : In my junior year of high school, this guy asked me on a date. He rented a Redbox movie and made a pizza. We were watching the movie and the oven beeped so the pizza was done. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “This is the worst part.” I then watched this boy open the oven and pull the pizza out with his bare hands, rack and all, screaming at the top of his lungs. We never had a second date.

2 . The fake report card : I failed the first quarter of a class in middle school, so I made a fake report card. I did this every quarter that year. I forgot that they mail home the end-of-year cards, and my mom got it before I could intercept with my fake. She was PISSED—at the school for their error. The teacher also retired that year and had already thrown out his records, so they had to take my mother’s “proof” (the fake ones I made throughout the year) and “correct” the “mistake.” I’ve never told her the truth.

writing a funny short story

3 . All the fish : I went to this girl’s party the week after she beat the shit out of my friend. While everyone was getting trashed, I went around putting tuna inside all the curtain rods and so like weeks went by and they couldn’t figure out why the house smelled like festering death. They caught me through this video where these guys at the party were singing Beyoncé while I was in the background with a can of tuna.

4 . How to win at video games : When I was little, I would go on Nickelodeon.com all the time and they had this game similar to Club Penguin , except it was called Nicktropolis . And if you forgot your password, a security question you could choose was “What is your eye color?” and if you got it right it’d tell you your password. So I would go to popular locations in Nicktropolis and write down random usernames who were also in those areas, and then I would log out and type in the username as if it were my own and see which of these usernames had a security question set to “What is your eye color?” (Which was most of them, since it was easy and we were all kids). I would then try either brown, blue, or green, and always get in, then I would go to their house and send all of their furniture and decorations to my own accounts. And if I didn’t want it, I could sell it for money.

writing a funny short story

5 . Drama at my drama class : One time my drama class’s teacher had gone home sick so we were just put in a classroom with a movie to entertain us for the period when an alarm went off. None of us were sure if it was the fire alarm or the lockdown alarm, so we all head out into the hall to check and no one’s out there, so we head back in and climb under our desks as is lockdown procedure. Cut to an hour or so later when a teacher bursts in and nearly dies of relief because the school was on fire and we were the only students not accounted for and half the faculty and fire department had been searching for us for ages. Literally, the whole school had filled with smoke while we’d kept super safe under our wooden desks.

6 . I drew a penis with a glue stick on the whiteboard : My whole class once got detention because I drew a penis with a glue stick on the whiteboard and when the teacher went to wipe off the board all the fluff came off and stuck to the glue. I never got in trouble for it because my whole class found it too funny to tell the teacher it was me.

7 . The day my teacher stole my headphones : During my sophomore year of high school, we were doing silent work and my history teacher said that we could listen to music but if it was too loud he would “break our headphones.” so I’m doing my work quietly with my music on low, and this obnoxious kid sitting next to me had his music really loud. I could hear it over my music but ignored it. My teacher thought it was me. So he comes up to me & ripped my BRAND NEW Apple headphones, looking ruthless. He suddenly realized it was the guy next to me and he was completely embarrassed. He came in the next day with a new pair and an apology note taped to them. He couldn’t look me in the eye for the rest of the year.

8 . Oh—semen : When I was in high school, I was pretty quiet around people who weren’t my friends. The high school’s wrestling coach also taught geometry, and he was my teacher. This resulted in a lot of wrestlers skipping class and barging into our classroom to hang out and not get in trouble. One day, seven wrestlers come in yelling about new wrestling uniforms, and how excited they were. When they go over and pull out the uniforms, the whole class is kind of side eyeing them. Even without what I mention next, the suits look funny. I mean, it’s tight royal blue Spandex with a suspender style top. Absolutely funny already. But the wrestlers grab the uniforms and rush out of the room to go change in the bathroom, and come back to show them off. Which, is also hysterical because Spandex hides NOTHING; you could see all of their junk.

Anyway, we live in a town called Ocean City. It’s commonly abbreviated as “OC”. On the back of the Spandex uniform, it says Ocean City Men in large letters. Except… they used the abbreviation. On the back, it says OC MEN. Which isn’t awful, but then I sound it out in my head. OC MEN. Oh—semen. I almost spit out the water I was drinking.

I looked around frantically, trying to find out who I can tell, because I didn’t have any friends to tell in this class. I turn to the girl next to me, and I had no idea who she was and had never talked to her before. I told her what I found and we both cracked up.

The whole time she saw me as the quiet teacher’s pet who was shy as hell. The first words out of my mouth were “It says oh semen.”

We’ve been best friends for 7 years now.

9 . Ow, my shit! : When I was a kid, I was always excited to learn new vocabulary. When I was in first grade, my teacher taught me that “shin” was another word for leg.

Later that day, I was walking with my mom, when I tripped and hit my leg on the ground really hard. I yelled out “OW, MY SHIN” although my mom heard “OW, MY SHIT.” She started yelling about how that was a bad word and we didn’t say that word, and she was going to wash my mouth out with soap. I was a crying, bawling mess of a child, to the point I was doing that weird cry, stutter, hiccup noise. She paused in berating me and said “Who taught you that word?!” Of course, I told the truth and said “M-m-my teacher t-t-t-taught me that word!” and she started ranting about how she was going to call the school and get that teacher yelled at.

I tried to explain, “T-te-teacher said that shin meant leg I’m SO SORRY ILL N-N-NE-ne-never say it again.” My mom got quiet and realized her mistake. “…What did you say?”

Of course I started crying harder and I said “NO it’s just a test you’re going to wash my mouth out with soap again.”

When I finally calmed down enough to say it again, my mom apologized and to this day I always say “shin” loudly just to see her face blush.

10 . I swear to God he levitated : I have a friend who I’ve known since I was very little. One day, when he was six, I was at his house when he got this absolutely god-awful stomach pain. I mean, he was literally writhing in pain. So, his mom took him to the doctor’s office, where the doctor took one look and told her to take him to the ER. She feared something along the lines of an intestinal rupture. About half way to the hospital, my friend suddenly let rip the loudest, most powerful fart any of us had ever heard. I swear to God he levitated. We thought the upholstery in the car seat had ripped. After a good 30 seconds of intense farting, he looked at his mom and said, “I feel all better now!”

11 . We don’t have a fucking doorbell : So a couple years I moved out of state with a boyfriend. Was super excited about it but with reason had anxiety about being so far from friends and family. One of the ways my anxiety was coming out was with nightmares and night terrors. I’d wake up violently sitting up in a cold sweat, gasping and whatnot. On one particular night I had woken up the sound of our doorbell ringing. Which at 4 in the morning is fucking nerve wracking. So I shook my boyfriend fully awake and told him I heard the doorbell and to go check it because I was scared. He quickly jumps up. Puts on clothes and grabs a bat. Goes all the way to the front door and opens it. I, scared shitless, am peeking around the corner watching it all go down. I see him step outside and I nervously await the verdict of the situation when I hear him call out to me. “Babe?” And I respond real shaky, “Yes?” He stands in the doorway with a real frustrated tired look in his eyes and says, “We don’t have a fucking doorbell.”

12 . The whole school thought I was going to star on Drake and Josh : In second grade, I told everyone that I was leaving school before next semester to move to Hollywood to play Megan’s cousin from Vermont on Drake and Josh . At first I just told my best friend, but then the whole school found out. I had people coming up to me and asking me for my autograph and a teacher even asked for a picture with me. When I showed up on the first day of school in third grade, I told everyone that the show was going off the air after the season finished (even though I had no knowledge of when it was ending), and so they wouldn’t need me. AND THE SHOW ENDED AFTER THAT SEASON AND EVERYONE BELIEVED ME UP UNTIL LIKE 6TH GRADE BUT NOW MY BEST FRIEND WILL NEVER LET ME FORGET ABOUT IT AND I’M SO ANGRY.

13 . Classroom Chaos : So in 8th grade I used to read during class a lot. At the time I was reading an Artemis Fowl book, and for some reason I had two copies of the same book. So one day in my English class we were reading this other book (which I had already finished reading three days earlier), I was reading my own book and when it was finally my turn to read, I had no idea where we were. So the teacher took my book away, I found my spot, read the part and passed it to the next person to start reading.

So after I read my part, I took out my second copy of Artemis and picked up right where I left off. Skip a few minutes ahead, gets back to my turn to read, and again I don’t know where we are. So teacher takes a look at me, sees the book in my hands, then back to her desk obviously confused for a second. But shrugs it off knowing it’s me she’s dealing with (I’ve caused similar problems like this before), takes my second book and puts it on her desk, and makes me read my part.

Now my friend that sat two chairs down from me was also reading Artemis at the same time as me and with a quick look to him he knew exactly what I was planning. He took it out and passed it over without hesitation. I opened to a random spot and just pretended like I was reading. (At this point it was just to mess with my teacher.)

So skip forward again and my teacher sees me with the book again and says, “How many of those do you have?” I gave my smartass remark as “enough.” She took away that book, too. But now at this point I was out of books, and the rest of my class knew it. But the teacher didn’t know I was out. So she continued with her lesson and another friend of mine took two of her books and switched out two of the Artemis books on her desk to make them look like they were still there.

He passed the books slowly around the room, one at a time, until they were back to me. Then I took one out, opened to a random spot and just kept it open, waiting to get caught. I silently signaled to a few people in class and they started laughing. The teacher looked at what they were laughing at and saw me with yet another book. She looked at her desk where there were seemingly 3 Artemis books and saw me with a 4th. She took it, walked back to her desk, put it down, turned around, and saw me with the second book that got taken back on my desk!!!

The teacher thought she was going to win this game but underestimated my teamwork with my classmates. So the second she came over to me to take the seemingly 5th book, another classmate took back the other two books from her desk and split them up—sending one to me one way, and the other another way.

The teacher was very flustered and laughing hysterically at this point and there was no more teaching going on. The entire class was also going ballistic trying to see who would win. It was just a game of “How many books does this one 8th grader have?”

So at the end of the class she thought she had taken 11 books from me. I took pity on her and told her what was really happening. I told her that I had already read the first book, and all the teamwork that went on. We were both laughing and making jokes. In the end she agreed to let me read my own books as long as I kept track of the actual book we were reading. (Meaning, I ask the person next to me tell me when it’s my turn and they point out my spot to read so I don’t actually have to keep track.)

14 . Victoria’s no longer a secret : So my oldest brother Ethan doesn’t like wearing pants while at home, he wears boxers (because he’s a gentleman) but REFUSES to wear pants.

So one day we’re all just chilling on the couch when Ethan comes in wearing his boxers. My younger brother Eric asks if he can take off his pants too and Ethan says yeah, just make sure you have clean underwear on.

Eric leaves the room, goes upstairs, comes back 3 or 4 minutes later without pants in my underwear, and not just any underwear; Victoria’s Secret, MY VICTORIA’S SECRET (only girl in the family).

Ethan is laughing his ass off, Nate (next oldest brother) is rolling on the floor, and I’m just sitting there like WTF.

My dad chooses the best time to come in with guests, when one of his 10 year old sons is standing in the living room wearing his only daughters frilly Victoria’s Secrets, his oldest isn’t wearing pants, and the other two sons are on the floor dying.

The neighbors haven’t come over since.

15 . My favorite teacher : One time in 6th grade we were at recess and while I was running to my friends, I just so happened to kick a HUGE rock (keep in mind, I was wearing flip-flops so it hurt like hell) and without thinking, I shouted at the top of my lungs “MOTHERFUCKER!” And with my god-awful luck, my math teacher was sitting at the bench right BESIDE ME. He then took me inside to what I thought was yell at me but he just couldn’t stop laughing and sent me back outside with a literal candy bar. He is still my favorite teacher I’ve ever had.

16 . Lotion boy : One time in my chemistry class, while the teacher was talking, this guy asked loudly, “Does anyone have any lotion?” The teacher stopped talking as some girl gave him some hand lotion.

The guy proceeds to slowly rub the lotion on his face as the whole class watches him in confusion.

The teacher asks him what he’s doing, and he responds with “I forgot to moisturize this morning” and puts even more on his face.

The teacher asks him to go to the hall to finish his moisturizing because he’s being a distraction, and after about 10 minutes he still hasn’t come back in, so someone opens the door to check and he’s still smearing lotion all over his face. He finally comes back in and hands the girl her lotion, and he’s used up half of it. Now people call him lotion boy.

17 . I never got to eat my Pringles : Okay, so this was in fourth grade, and I was in this class with all these dumbass kids.

Here’s the back story: My parents usually pack me fruit for a snack, but on this day they packed me like half of the leftover Pringles from the day before, you know, in that cylinder container. I was really excited since I LOVE PRINGLES. But when recess came around so I could take MY Pringles and go eat it outside, they weren’t in my bag. I started scoping the area, trying to find my Pringles. I call the teacher, she tries to find them but she can’t either. Than this thought comes to my mind—What if MOIRA STOLE IT?

Moira was this chubby girl in my class that literally ALWAYS wore this purple princess dress that should be classified as a bad Halloween costume (seriously) and was known for being a bitch.

Being the judgmental 9-10 year old I was, I straight out concluded that she must’ve stolen my damn Pringles. I just tell my teacher, “Well too bad, I’ll just go out for recess now. It was just PRINGLES.” Being a little angel. So I stomp out of the class and start searching for Moira. I’m talking checking areas, finding witnesses, wasting my time. So after a solid 10 minutes, I find a group of these kids crowded at the side of one of the portable classrooms. I rush over to see what it is. The kids were eating Pringles. Barbecue flavored Pringles. MY PRINGLES. I start raging as I smack the Pringles out of the kids’ hands and start ripping people away from the main source. And in the middle of all the kids, sat a smug looking MOIRA with my PRINGLES. I look all mad and rip the BLOODY EMPTY CONTAINER OF PRINGLES OUT OF THE DAMN BITCH’S FILTHY HANDS. By now even dumbass Moira knows what’s up, she’s a goner. I would’ve murdered her at the very least, but a supervisor saw us and ran over.

Moira was forced to apologize and I was forced to accept her damn apology.

I never got to eat my Pringles.

To this day I’m sure she fears my cold dead hands, ready to rip her lying face off.

18 . Why my parents can’t take me seriously : So one time I was home alone and it was around dinnertime when I decided to make myself something to eat. I opened the freezer and dug around until I found what appeared to be chicken nuggets in an unopened plastic bag that for some reason, didn’t have any cooking instructions. Thinking that my parents must have thrown away the box for box tops, I called my mom to ask how long and at what temperature to cook chicken nuggets. She told me both of them, I laid out about 20 on a tray and stuck it in the oven, setting the timer before I walked out of the kitchen. When it was almost time to get my chicken nuggets, I walked into a cinnamon scented kitchen. I searched all over that kitchen, trying to find the cinnamon scent, leading me to the oven. I decide to turn on the oven light to see if maybe my mom had stuck some cookies in the oven and forgot to bake them, but instead, I find that the tray my chicken nuggets were on has cookies on it instead! As I’m trying to process what just happened, I hear the front door open and my mom shout delightedly, “Ooooo what’s that smell?” She walks into the kitchen and catches my confused expression. That’s when the spark ignited and she realized exactly what had happened. Somehow in some form, I had accidentally baked snickerdoodles. And that is why my parents can never take my cooking seriously.

19 . Painting a roller coaster : So in my junior year of high school I got a project to make a roller coaster for my physics class. Everything was going fine until the day my partner and I had to paint the thing. We were in my garage spray painting the tubes and these two guys come marching up to the house across the street and start yelling at the top of their lungs, beating on the door. Now let me say in my defense the neighborhood I lived in was in south Dallas and it’s still not a safe place. Well I called the police, closed the garage and parked myself in front of the dining room window. Long story short the police showed up in full gear broke down the door and brought out the two boys at gunpoint. And that’s the story of how my entire block found out that the abandoned house had new owners.

20 . Jellyfish fiasco : So when I was like 9 I went to this aquarium thing and it was a pretty amusing trip overall. But then suddenly I just kind of saw these jellyfish without any tentacles floating around in the water and was like “oh cool.”

The next day at school, the teacher asked us what we had done over the weekend. Now normally I never raise my hand. But I did this time. I fucking did it this time. The worst possible time. So I raised my hand and everyone was obviously shocked to see my hand up in the air so the teacher said “yes?”

and after confirming the fact that she picked me I said

“I saw this jelly fish in the aquarium and I thought it was really cool because it didn’t have any -testacles-.” and then like the classroom just emerged with so much laughter and I had no clue what was going on so I pleaded my friend to explain what was so funny I mean even THE TEACHER WAS LAUGHING AND I WAS GOING WTF.

So eventually my friend explained to me (it literally took 2 hours of convincing) and then ofc I was pretty embarrassed but the thing is the fucking teacher then asked me if she could tell this to the other teachers and that’s the story of how I switched schools.

21 . Eighth grade games : So when I was in the eighth grade, science class was the most boring hours of my life. Everyone would play games on their computers (we used computers to take notes) but would play them in a super sneaky manner (volume down, looking at the board so it looks like you’re taking notes, etc.). I wasn’t one for playing games during class but I was soooo bored…so I searched up Pac-Man on Google and started playing (I didn’t know what else to play).

So I started playing and just my luck I didn’t check how high my volume was….IT WAS ALL THE WAY UP. I started panicking because the game noises were excruciatingly loud. I kept playing and got eaten by a ghost almost after I pressed the start button (my hands were shaking like crazy)….my strict science teacher looked me straight in the eye..

22 . I literally “fell” for him : Since my crush sits behind me in class, when we stood up to do the pledge I stood up too fast and I stumbled over to him so to not fall on the ground I reached to grab his desk but I accidentally GRABBED HIM and I ended up falling on top of him and we both screamed. Luckily I didn’t hurt or crush him. My teacher and everyone else started laughing and I got so red afterwards. Now when we stand up for the pledge, he moves all the way to the back of the room away from me…

23 . 5th grade teacher : In fifth grade, my teacher loathed me. She would do anything to make me cry and sent me to the principle’s office any chance she got. Don’t believe me? I’m left handed. So still, to this day, I get my hands confused. On this particular day, we were doing the Pledge of Allegiance and I had put my left hand to my chest (it’s supposed to be your right hand over your heart). She got mad at me, telling me that I wasn’t being ‘patriotic’ and sent me to the principal’s office. The principal and I were quite aquatinted at this point and so I told her why I was sent back to her office again, and she laughed. And laughed. I didn’t find it funny at all, I mean all the kids in my school thought I was a delinquent so they didn’t want to be my friend. My principal wrote on the back of my hands, L and R. What I didn’t realize was that she wrote L on my right hand and R on my left hand. She did the same to hers. Then, she walked me back to the classroom, and made our whole class redo the Pledge with our ‘right’ hand, with me leading the class, and it was one of the happiest moments of my elementary experience.

24 . In the closet : OK, so one time when I was really little I had a best friend who was kinda strange but so my mom got a call one day asking if she was over at my house because they couldn’t find her and so they call again about two hours later to ask if we could help look for her and so about three hours of looking we had basically covered the entire neighborhood and they were about to call the police and we decided to check their house one more time and my mom went into her room and found her completely naked and sleeping on the top of a super tall shelf in her closet.

25 . Cringey! : My best friend and I are super weird, and whenever either of us see an attractive person we tend to take a picture of them and send it to each other, because why not?

Anyway, I was on a cruise ship with my grandparents, and I spot this super cute guy a couple years older than me. Naturally, I freak out a little, & I whip out my phone. Bare in mind I’m sat next to my grandparents in the middle of a crowded lobby.

So I open my camera, take a picture- and guess what?

THE FUCKING FLASH WAS ON, WASN’T IT?

I make eye contact with thus cute guy, look at my Grandparents who both look extremely disappointed, and a few other people are looking at me. Obviously I left the room immediately.

26 . Sporting goods : So I have this health teacher who is really insane about exercise. This woman has done ironman triathlons, and talks about going to the YMCA at 5:00am.

Yeah she’s crazy.

Basically we have this project to pick a health goal to do for a month. Things like drinking water or doing squats. For that you need some motivation so we were talking about physical things to reward ourselves with.

She decided to tell us about her sporting goods fetish, where she goes into a store and buys a bunch of gear like they were books. In the middle of this she suddenly goes, “I really like Dick’s” Realizing what she just said, she turned red and in a more quiet voice goes, “please don’t tell your parents.”

27 . How bugs feel : When I was about 5/6 my mom and stepdad bought my sister and I bikes for Easter. After church they were like “do you wanna learn how to ride them?” And I was like??? Duh?? I had finally gotten the hang of it and I was riding around the circle showing off, and my mom was like “say cheese” so I look over at her for a second and I FUCKING RAM INTO A CAR AT FULL SPEED. A parked car that I didn’t even see, like at all, so I just rammed into this car and I fell off my bike and I was crying and all I could think about was “this must be how bugs feel” like they’re flying around living life and then SPLAT. Looking back that was my first existential crisis

28 . In dreams : I’ve always had super vivid dreams and it takes me a while after waking up to realize that they’re not real. Sometimes, it’s a disappointment but generally I just forget about it and move on. Now, in 6th grade I had one really close friend who I never actually got into a fight with. One night, I had a really vivid dream where my friend and I had this huge falling out over something that I can’t even remember now.

I was really good at holding grudges because I was not a forgiving child, so for three weeks I completely ignored my best friend in anger to the point where she started crying in front of the teacher and he asked what was going on. Of course, as I’m telling the story I realize the events were super weird and that it was all a dream. I fall silent and just look at my friend who’s still extremely upset and don’t know what to say because I had fucked up so badly.

29 . Sniffing candles with my best friend : So my best friend and I were in a super market and there were a lot of new candles. They all smelled strange so we started to think about names we could give them ‘grandma’s toilet cleaning agent’ or sth like this. Whatever I guess we sniffed to much candles because we started laughing very hard and I lay on the floor and my best friend fell into to pasta shelf which made us laugh even more and louder and people were already staring at us. Suddenly my brother’s best friend stood behind us and from this day he’s thinking that I’m taking drugs.

I just sniff candles with my best friend to burst out in laughter.

30 . Skull lover : So I was sitting at a lecture when I feel like being stared at, and in the corner of my eye I see this really handsome guy, who’s literally just staring at me. I don’t think much of it and continue to listen to the professor. After the lecture the guy comes up to me, and lays his hand on head and I’m like “eeeehm, what are you doing” and he stares me dead in the eyes and says “I’ve never seen such a gorgeous skull” and then he turns around and leaves.

Funny Short Stories

31 . All glowed up : After the final bell, my friend and I were walking to our buses after school through a crowded hallway. We were talking about childhood and reminiscing about old memories, and we somehow started talking about which people became hot since middle school. My friend mentioned this guy named Keenan and I said “Yeah, he is pretty hot now,” and my friend practically screamed “DUDE HE GLOWED UP SO HARD!” (“Glowed up” means I guess like someone became attractive). Anyway, right as she said that she turned her head and he was RIGHT BEHIND US (this is so so very cliché but I swear to god there he was). Anyway, right as she saw him she screamed “OH! HE’S RIGHT THERE!”. And OF COURSE he heard her, but it was so awkward so he just walked past us looking down at his phone and my friend fell on the ground from embarrassment.

32 . Chinese class : I took Chinese at school as a freshman. On one particular day, we didn’t have anything to do in class since we had gone through the whole curriculum for the semester. Our teacher wanted us to watch a Chinese movie in that free time, and I just so happened to watch one recently on YouTube. I offered to find it, and my teacher let me use her computer, that was connected to a Promethean board so that the whole class could see what I was doing on the screen. After a couple of minutes of searching, I couldn’t find the movie since I didn’t know the exact title, so I logged into my YouTube account and decided to find it in my history. When I opened my history I was mortified since stupid me had forgotten that being the awkward virgin that I was at the time I had searched up tutorials on kissing and making out that previous night. The whole class was hysterically laughing, my teacher was extremely confused, and I almost cried as I scrolled past all the kissing tutorials and finally found the movie. I went back to my seat and didn’t speak to anyone in class for the rest of the week. I still haven’t lived it down.

33 . Coca-Cola disaster : A couple years ago my friends and I were going to see a movie in the theatre at the mall. Instead of paying the ridiculous movie theatre prices for pop and candy, we decided to go to target to buy some stuff. This was when Coca Cola started to put people’s names on their bottles. My friend told me she had seen a bottle with my name on it inside this bin of Coke. I was weirdly excited since I hadn’t gotten one with my name on it yet. After I had bought the drink, I opened inside target, and it exploded EVERYWHERE. The pop was at least five or six feet in diameter. I watched as people passed the mess and made looks of disgust. Imagine if I had opened it inside of the theatre…

34 . Panic! at the pothole : Once upon a time I had a friend that was going to a Panic! At The Disco concert and she promised me she would face time me so that I could watch with her. So she messaged me at like the middle of the night telling me to answer her FaceTime call but I was at my neighbors house (which also happened to be my cousins house) so I started running out the door and my sister followed me behind and was chasing after me. She asked me where I was going so I started running as fast as I could screaming “WE HAVE TO GET HOME, IM NOT GONNA MAKE IT! I NEED TO SEE, WHY CANT I SEE!?!”

Keep in mind that it’s like midnight right about now but I’m running and halfway through screaming. I stepped inside a pothole in my neighbor’s lawn and completely fell in mud but I got right back up and kept running, muddy as hell, trying to get to my house while my sister was dying from laughter behind me. That’s not even the sad part, the sad part is my friends phone died so I just sat there with mud all over me at the dining room table staring at my blank phone just waiting. I waited for almost two hours, refusing to take a shower even though the mud was starting to dry up. This was two years ago and to this day every time my sister sees the pothole she starts dying from laughter.

35 . The toilet phase : When I was younger, around 3 or 4 years old, I had a phase of flushing things down the toilet. I would flush McDonald’s toys I didn’t want anymore or change I had found in my room. the biggest and most hilarious thing I ever dumped was a gallon of milk. one day I was bored and was looking around in the fridge low and behold there it was, a new gallon of milk. my tiny body dragged the bottle on the floor all the way to the bathroom. I opened the cap, let it go into the toilet, and flushed. I thought I was smart enough to let it go unnoticed but I’ll never forget what my dad yelled out when he walked in. “why in the hell is the water white?!“ my mom found the empty carton and just stared at me.

36 . My mom’s thong : One day when I was 3 I decided I wanted to be like my mom and wear “big girl” panties. I sneakily went through her drawer and grabbed the first thing I could find – a thong (I didn’t know what it was at the time). She didn’t know until we went to breakfast with some friends and took me to the bathroom. She still won’t let me live it down!

37 . Slappy trails : One time in fifth grade, I was walking back to class from the bathroom. Before I continue, I should specify two things.

1. My classroom was literally just around the corner from the bathroom, next to the lockers.

2. There was a boy that I had a crush on for the past year in my class.

Now for whatever reason, I was swinging my arms around in a wild half-windmill motion. Don’t ask me why, I was just filled with child-like glee I guess. So there I was, swinging my arms dramatically, then just when I got to the corner…

I had accidentally slapped someone in the face. It took me a second to realize who it was: my crush.

I was mortified, but he just started laughing. To this day I can probably cite that as one of my top clumsy/socially inept moments.

38 . The ramen incident : I have decided to remain anonymous to protect my identity from the foolishness. last night, I became hungry and decided to make some ramen. I removed the various packets from the bowl, added the flavor and vegetables, then put the bowl in the microwave.

After about a minute or two, I realized something was wrong. A terrible burning smell had filled my kitchen.

I opened the door to my microwave and…low and behold…I had neglected to add water. There was some smoke coming from the bowl. Not wanting to waste the ramen, I went to the sink and added water, which filled the room in acrid smoke for several seconds. I then returned the bowl to the microwave and cooked it for two more minutes before attempting to eat it.

Well….It went okay for a little while, until I discovered a globule of blackened noodles which had turned into some sort of strange crystalline substance yet seen in nature by humankind. I had a change of heart.

39 . First phone accident : When I was in the 6th grade my parents decided I should get my first cell phone because I was going to middle school now and things were different. It was a pink little slide phone where you’d slide it sideways and have the texting keyboard and all. I took decent care of my phone and never needed a replacement. Well, flash forward to Memorial Day weekend. My family and another family went camping up in Pennsylvania for the weekend. Well, one of the days we were up there my buddy, Oliver, and I decided to take the kayaks out on the lake. Genius me, decided she wanted to listen to the 4 Selena Gomez songs I had on my phone. I thought it would be a brilliant idea to put my phone in a plastic bag to protect it from the water. When we got back from kayaking I took my phone out only to find the bag was submerged in water. We had no rice or anything to save my phone so we tried laying it out to dry, not even 15 minutes later it starts down pouring destroying my phone even more. My mom ended up giving me her first flip phone which didn’t even have a camera or the option to have music or photos transferred. Lesson learned.

40 . Little thief : When I was around four or five I was with my mom at this store buying some Christmas gifts. as we were leaving I saw these little plushy dinosaurs that fit perfectly in my hands. I grabbed two of them and stashed one in each of my pockets. my pockets were so small that they made me look like I had two rumors on each of my hips. I still remember the rush of energy I got from actually leaving the store undetected. well, when my mom and I got to the car, she found them and called the store back and made me apologize. I had the absolute worst social anxiety when I was a kid so I was a absolutely sobbing, telling this poor employee how horrible a person I was. like I was having a mental breakdown, it was so bad my mom apologized to me afterwards and bought me a nice milkshake!

41 . Driver’s license : So I was at the local DMV to get my driver’s license when my dad pissed off the lady at the counter. turns out she was the lady that had to do the actual road test with me. We get in the car and I thought I was doing pretty well, until she starts freaking out? She has me pull over, tells me I’m the worst drive ever. after yelling at me, she demands I go back to the DMV. and the rest of the time she is on her phone. When we get there, there is a state trooper waiting for me. gives me a field sobriety test. Literally had to take a sobriety test when I tried to get my license. At least I passed one test that day.

42 . That one time I got lost : So about a year ago, I was in Phys. Ed class, and we went around the neighborhood for a jog at the beginning of each class. I hadn’t done it before because of medical reasons, but the teacher evidently forgot about it. I’m incredibly bad with directions and easily distracted, so I lost sight of the rest of the group and went completely the wrong way. I ended up being lost for TWO AND A HALF HOURS. the best part is that I single handedly changed my school’s Phys. Ed policy.

43 . Popcorn : My sister, mother, and I were waiting in a long line at the Sam’s Club food court. The entire time I was waiting, I was mentally rehearsing what my order would be “one slice of cheese pizza please”, my mind was repeatedly screaming at me. when we got up to the cashier to pay, I got distracted by his cuteness so instead of asking for the pizza, I confidently said “one popcorn please”, which SAMs Club food court has none of. Once I realized my mistake, I screamed out “noooo”, loud enough for 50 people to look at me. embarrassed, I ran away and my mom and sister had to bring me the slice of pizza from my finding place in the freezer section. To this day, I beg people to order for me when anyone remotely attractive is working the cash register.

44 . 50 shades of butt : So to begin my story I should tell you that I work at a Medical Spa as front desk and my job entails mostly computer and customer service related tasks. however, I am also there to assist the on shift technician, obviously not with the lasers as I am not certified, but with well…helping shaving clients to prepare them for their treatment. So this particular Saturday I was asked to help shave a client’s back, which was fine it’s part of my job and I just needed to be professional about it and it’s something I’ve unfortunately had to do before as well so no big deal right? wrong. So I do the usual I put on my gloves grab a razor and begin assisting the tech however much to my surprise (and displeasure) the tech suddenly pulls down the client’s pants and underwear to which I am greeted with a hairy behind. It is all I can do in my power to keep from laughing from sheer shock. I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say it was not totally normal colored…trying to stay professional I then had to proceed and hold the clients butt cheek taunt to shave it. I finished as through and quick as I possibly could and booked it the hell out of the room. Later when I had to book the clients next appointment neither of us could look the other in the eye because of that traumatizing encounter. I will probably never be able to live down the moment I looked at the multicolored butt right in the crack.

45 . Thanks, Mrs. Miller, you the best : One time way back in sixth grade math class I had to fart really bad. Me being the idiot that I am decided that it would be silent. Big surprise it wasn’t. The only person talking was the teacher and she was interrupted by freaking cannon fire farts. She said she was disappointed I couldn’t hold it in and proceeded to tell a story of how she taught a famous athlete who did nearly the same thing.

46 . Weed birthday : Last year, during class, my algebra teacher let us listen to music while we did our classwork and whatnot. So, I was just jamming, being super confused on this one problem and I look up from my paper to ask my friend how to do it and EVERYONE is intensely looking back and forth between me and another girl with their fingers on their noses. As you can imagine, I was super confused. So, naturally, I also put my finger on my nose. Everybody yelled “OHHHHHHHHHH” and turns out, it was a “nose goes” thing and the other girl had to ask the teacher if she’d ever smoked weed on her birthday because it was 4/20…

47 . That time in freshman year : So I was always the person who’d try to leave class really fast so I wouldn’t always being paying attention to some very crucial surroundings. So I’m sitting in math class where our teacher makes us put our book bags against the wall to the side of the room. The bell rings and being that kid that wants to get out I don’t bother putting all my stuff away and I just grab my RED backpack and I’m gone. I get all the way to my science class and set the book bag at my desk when LO AND BEHOLD it’s not my backpack. It’s another ALSO RED backpack that I had mistakenly took in my rush to get to science. So I have this mini freak out at my friend Seth sitting next to me. As a freshman and quite socially inept I decide not to really do anything about it until lunch which was next block. I had some paper in my arms from last class so I decided to use those and figure out everything during lunch instead of making a scene at like literally the first week of my high school career.

So we go into science class and since it’s the first week we’re always doing the scientific method lesson before anything else. My teacher asks the class for a problem we can apply to it right? Well guess who raises his hand? SETH. Now my teacher adored Seth so he gets called on and you know what his answer was?? “what if you accidentally stole someone’s backpack? like, you thought it was yours and you didn’t mean to take it” and my teacher was like why don’t you tell me more about this so Seth goes “oh it’s not my problem it’s HERS” and POINTS TO ME. Complete mortification. and even then my teacher was confused thinking I had just come up with the problem but no. only if. I hold up the stolen backpack and my teacher had the most dumbfounded look like I have never encountered someone that failed at life more than you. so he calls my math teacher yada yada I get my backpack. the worst part? We ended up continuing with that scenario and took notes on the scientific method using the very problem that I had created. my hypothesis? If I wasn’t a complete fail then I’d be able to get my own bag properly.

48 . Virtual-reality self-prostitution : I used to play a game called Phantasy Star Universe and I would be my own pimp AND my own hoe. I had my main account (let’s call him Dudeman) and my hoe account (let’s call her Galchick). so there was like the main floor area and people would like try to sell nudes for money (in-game, not IRL) and I was like “nobody actually does that… do they?” so I made Galchick and I took off her clothes so she was in her underwear, and then I said ONE thing on the main floor and some guy took the bait right away. he invited me back to his house and I was like “omg I’m sorry, I’m new to this! how do you transfer money?” and he did it to show me how… and then he asked for my character to teabag his and moan into the mic, and I was like a 15 year old boy, so instead… I just blocked him and took the money. that’s when I realized my one, true calling. I did it for months and I’d transfer the money from Galchick to Dudeman and all my friends wondered how I had super good gear. I miss that game everyday…

49 . A full sun : After an exhausting, weeklong festival I was getting a lift back home in a car full of my friends. We were coming up over a mountain road with a really beautiful ocean view just at sunset.

I’ll never forget the outburst that followed when I said “wow it’s so beautiful, and it’s even a full sun!”

I momentarily forgot that only moons have phases, and that the sun is generally always ‘full’ … my friends have never let me live it down.

Funny Stories

50 . Socially awkward fail : So one day I was walking around, just chilling with my friends when I see this guy reading a book. He was new there but the book was a book I read and LOVED.

So naturally I approach this boy hoping to make a new friend and bond over the series. Being the socially awkward fail I am I planned out ahead of time what I’d say: “Hey, we’ve [my friends and I] wanted to come over to say hi cause I say you were reading a book I liked and I hope we can talk more in the future.”

Once we got to him I panicked and just had to blurt out “We’ve come to hello you.” and I think my voice cracked and I almost started to cry.

Never gonna talk to them again.

51 . Don’t sit on cold ground : So a couple weeks ago, me and my friends were sitting on this cement kind of pedestal (as we called it) It’s basically the steps up to the portable. (classroom that no one uses) and this weird supply French teacher comes up to us and says: you shouldn’t be sitting on this ground, it’s too cold and it’s bad for your ovaries. I asked her how or why and she said that if children sit on cold ground their ovaries will freeze and that we won’t be able to have kids. Now it’s an inside joke between us about not sitting on cold ground.

52 . Gay teacher : So about a year ago we had to do a speech about something we were passionate about. These would then be recorded to put on the school website. I decided to do one about gay rights as it was not yet legalized in my state. I decided to mention that I was gay during the speech, which wasn’t that much of a surprise to people. In the end it went really well.

Then a couple of hours later, during lunch I was walking past the staffroom to get to the lunch hall when I heard my speech being played, being curious I stopped and I heard them replay “I am gay myself actually” a couple of times over. Out of the corner I could see my 6th grade teacher give my computer studies teacher 10 dollars. Then suddenly, I sneezed really loudly, the teachers turned around and saw me standing there.

My 6th grade teacher has pretty much gotten over it but my computer studies teacher refuses to make eye contact with me.

53 . Foreign student trauma : When I first moved from Lithuania to America I was 5 years old and didn’t speak any English. On the first day of kindergarten I was crying so much that my teacher picked me up and let me sit on her lap, meanwhile the rest of the kids sat on the carpet in front of me and watched me cry while she explained to them what was going on (in a language I didn’t understand). Our school was 3 buildings put together, and the pick up was at the “blue” building but my classroom was at the “red” building, so they put a sign over my neck that said “I don’t speak English and I’m going to the blue building” and sent me away to follow a crowd of other kids. I’m still traumatized…

54 . His face looks like the best chair : So there’s this really hot kid in my creative writing class. And everyone knows I like him.

But one day, he walked in looking like a freaking GQ model, and I accidentally out loud whispered “Shit, his face looks like the best chair” and the girl who sits in front of me turned around and said “WTH, that’s freaky and gross” and she moved her seat.

She gives me weird looks every time she sees me now.

55 . Never wear a dress in Chicago : So when I was younger, my aunt was kind enough to invite me to come along with her to Chicago for my cousin’s paintball tournament. I had never been to Chicago before, so naturally I had to go see the big city.

Just like any other girl, I wanted to get all dolled up before walking around in front of people. I wore an extremely soft red dress that I was in love with, and some wedges.

One thing that Chicago has plenty of is vents, and I ignored them because the ones in my city are never on. This was a mistake, because I just so happened to walk over one that was on. Only to be met with steam hot enough to burn leg hair off, and my dress being blown up to my neck around hundreds of other people.

56 . SonofabitchAdam : I used to babysit this little boy who was a real handful. He was always in trouble and it seemed like every time his dad had to call him it went like this…

Dad finds disaster left by Adam.

Dad yells out, “Son of a Bitch! Adam!”

One day I have to pick up Adam’s older brother at school. A Catholic school.

His teacher, a nun, sees adorable little Adam with his chubby cheeks and face like a cherub and asks him his name and he answers flat out, “SonofabitchAdam.”

57 . As it turns out, I am gay : When I was around 9 years old I was starting to get confused about my sexuality so I would always look up “Are You Gay” quizzes on our family computer because I was scared and confused, and my mom eventually saw the searches in the history and confronted me about it. I lied about it and said I had accidentally clicked an ad. As it turns out, I am gay. 

January Nelson

January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University.

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  • Writing 2 : A funny story
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writing a funny short story

English: 2Bac (All Streams)

Unit 2 (humour) writing : a funny story, professeur : mme zaara asmae, i- sample story 1, ii- sample story 2, iii- practice.

Inspired from "HeadWay"

Inspired from "Just Reading and Writing"

Think about a funny incident that happened to you or you just attended, then fill in the chart below :

Now write your paragraphs :

These sentences may help you :

  • One day / A few days ago
  • While we were studying / walking
  • I can never forget the day when
  • Every body may have a funny story. Well, for me ...

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  • Vocabulaire

writing a funny short story

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“ clearance aisle libations ” by bay colt.

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The worst part about being an amateur necromancer is that no one respects you, not even the dead. My older brother, Joseph, is practically crying over the phone, struggling to speak through great gasps of heaving, wheezing laughter. After way too many seconds of this, he finally manages to choke out, “Really? Goddamn—Mountain Dew?” Irritated, I switch the phone to my other ear, tipping my head a...

“ Cell 3.47 ” by Kate Hughes

🏆 Winner of Contest #220

Cell 3.47 was situated on the third floor of B wing in Stocken Gate prison, slap bang in the heart of London’s east end. Known as The Gate, the prison had a reputation for being a tough place to do time. The inmates behind the doors at The Gate endured long cold winters in the Victorian slammer that had been condemned many times but had always escaped closure. It was harsh, it was hard, and it was overrun by rats.Paula Pritchard was the sole resident of cell 3.47, but due to the rodent crisis she ...

“ Long Live the King ” by Hazel Ide

🏆 Winner of Contest #217

"I was eight years old the first time I heard his name." Shifting in the hard plastic seat, my wrists are shackled to a metal chain link at the center of the table, limiting my mobility.The officer observes my discomfort passively, already impatient and annoyed with my recollection of events."I was thinking a little more recent, Miss Clark. Like why you were caught standing outside his home with a bloody—""No, no, you d...

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“ "it" ” by murray burns.

Submitted to Contest #239

“It”Tormented by the thought, dreading the moment, awaiting the inevitable, peace evades me. Morning, noon, and night, here, there, and everywhere, the specter haunts me. I’ve always known the Why. It was the What, When, and Where that disrupt my life’s journey, and of course, the fear of the great unknown, a/k/a “it”.“It”- used with many verbs as a direct object with little or no meaning- Merriam-Webster.“Timmy! If you do that again, I’m going to… well, you’re really going to get it!”“When your Father gets home, he will… well, you’ll see. Y...

“ The Swan Songs ” by Michał Przywara

Eobald the Younger, formerly King of Tretovortania, pulled at his burlap robe to discreetly get at a particularly insistent shoulder itch. When he grunted, the abbot glared at him, and Eobald cast his eyes to the dirt path in shame. To his dirty, dirt endirted feet, covered in so much dirt and so little silk.“Be at peace, child,” said the abbot. His abbot now, because now the former king was a current Aspirant Listener of the Gentlest Wind. “The time will soon come. For now, comfort yourself with the sacred song of the swan.”As if on cue, on...

“ A Funny Romance ” by David Newcombe

A Funny Romance The coffee was by now too cold to drink. The scone seemed to be shrinking before his eyes, as it too, cooled rapidly whilst the jam and cream had developed a discernible patina after being exposed to the air for so long. How long had he sat here feeling so lost? He knew exactly where he was of course, it was the same café he visited at the same time every Saturday afternoon. Yet he felt as though his life had somehow reached an impasse, an insurmountable barrier. He was lost within himself. This was not his real self that sat...

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🏆 Featuring 12 prize-winning stories from our community. Download it now for FREE .

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“ dearly beloved ” by sally wirth.

            “Is this seat open?” Sam asked the solitary woman sitting at the table. The Commerce Council meeting had moved out of the lecture hall into the bar for the mixer phase. Everyone here knew this was where business really took place. Have a drink (or drinks), mingle and make connections – hopefully business related. Being a single woman, Sam had learned to keep her guard up and stick to a two drink limit.           “Hi....

“ Money, Blood, and Coffee ” by Tom Skye

TW: Strong language and violence throughout.Hey girl. I'll take one large ginger spiced latte and a chocolate chip muffin, please... …and sorry if I look a state. I just walked over from Bark and Solihull, the solicitors one block up, and you wouldn't believe what went down. I'm guessing this red shit all over my face and shirt is a giveaway, but damn… a guy just got his head blown half off. And don't get all nervous around me. Do you think I would be standing here hands-free if I had anything to do with this shit? Nah… I haven't so muc...

“ Bug-Batty—A Phobic's Guide to Hosting ” by Rose Winters

Shauna had never hosted a writer’s group before, and she was a little nervous. She had a thousand phobias. Dirt phobias, noise phobias, and especially insect phobias. The smallest gnat would put her in a catatonic state until it was caught and removed.But she had all her ducks in a row. She had written an email invitation with very careful instructions. Once more, she reviewed those written instructions in her mind, and the reasoning behind them:1.    Park in the front of the house, not the side. (A r...

“ Our Dear Defarted ” by Chris Campbell

“Wot are you implying, Vicar?” “You tell me.” “Tell you what?” “What do you think it’s about?” “I dunno. You tell me.” “Look, I know it was you. We all know it was you.” “You’re implying it was me. It could have been anyone around me.” “Then why did your row part on either side of you, as if Moses had just turned up at the Red Sea?” “You’re pointing your finger at me.” “Does it suddenly create the urge to pull it?” “I’m not crude like that.” “Crude is crude – whether demonstrative or not, and this whole conversation of who-did-what-when, and...

“ Dick and Jane ” by Ty Warmbrodt

Dick, on the way home from the fair:“Did you all have a good time at the fair,” mom asks.“Sure did, mom! I met up with Brandon, Robby, and Shane and we went on every ride twice! My favorite was the …,” Eddie, Dick’s sugar and caffeine induce little brother began.“What mom really wants to know is, who is she, Dick” Veronica, Dicks older sister asks, teasingly.“Who’s who, Dick,” Eddie asks, confused as to why he would be cut off for such a reason.“Yeah, Dickie, what’s her name,” mom asks, turning around in the front seat to give her son her fu...

“ The Invention of Charades ” by Denise Glickler

Bonjour! I am Colette, a lively lass from the heart of France, born in the year 1620. My hair, as pale as the winter snow, carries a hint of red, like the last rays of the setting sun. My eyes, a curious blend of green and gold, are always sparkling with mischief and a thirst for knowledge. And my mouth, oh, it's always in a pout, especially when I'm deep in thought or when I've just asked one of my countless "Why?" questions. I'm a bit of a chatterbox, you see, and some might even call me silly. But I just can't help it! The world is full o...

“ Commitment ” by Ralph Aldrich

Oscar is in his fishing boat on his favorite lake, watching his bobber bob up and down in the sun’s glare. Light dapples across his face as a soft breeze tosses the few strands of his balding head. Suddenly, he feels a sharp pain in his side. He is snapped awake. Dolores’s bony elbow has hit him hard in the ribs. She hisses, “Oscar, wake up! You’re in church!”Oscar grumbles back, “I’m not sleeping. I’m listening.”“Yeah? Well, your eyes were closed!” Oscar lifts his chin defiantly, “...

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She kept pretending to look as though she wanted to talk. Everyone around her was clearly struggling, and here she was, finding no difficulty at all in staying silent. Whenever someone around her opened their month, she could see the red light registering behind their eyes. Oh no, I mustn't speak. When Charlene opened her mouth, it was only to convey an expression. Of shock. Of surprise. Of putting together a mathematical equation. It was not to speak. It was never to speak. Charlene had not spoken around other people for a few years now. On...

“ How my dick ended up on the internet. A true story. ” by Mike McQueary

The first thing people from Happy Valley gossip when it comes to me is not about Jerry Sandusky story, but they like the scandalous rumors about how my dick pics ended up all over the internet. Everyone knows the Sandusky story, people like to hear the story about my junk. I can tell you that in my tiny hometown almost everyone I encounter has seen my penis, from the old lady in the flower shop to the guy who mows the Beaver Stadium grass. I thank my lucky stars the national media had enough class not to publish that.with this one,...

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IT HAS TO BE SAID “What are you hiding behind your back Leonard? Do not even think about saying nothing, I saw you go to the mail box and take out a letter. Who is it from?” “It’s nothing that concerns you Jessica. I do have the right to some privacy. You will be the first to be told if it is something you need to know about.” “Another letter of demand isn’t it? You are in trouble with your gambling excesses again aren’t you? How many times have I warned you of what will happen if do not control your betting? You are an absolute …..,  w...

“ FAMILY PAST ” by Darvico Ulmeli

In a softly lit office adorned with rich mahogany furniture and shelves filled with medical journals, Doctor Edmund Pierce, a distinguished psychiatrist with graying temples and kind eyes, was in his favorite chair. Across from him sat an older woman in a striking red dress. She introduced herself as Madam Penelope Peacock from New York.Madam Peacock exuded an air of refined elegance despite the faint tremor in her hands. She settled into the plush chair before Doctor Pierce, her posture regal yet betraying a hint of nervousness.As they prep...

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I can’t say it. I just can’t say it. I want to say it but I can’t. I can’t say anything that might be comic or funny or even something that somebody else might think is comic or funny. There is too much at stake. Too much to lose. This is our culture now. People are not allowed to make jokes or say anything that is funny. It has been almost exactly 3 years since humour was banned. After the Election in 2024 the new British Government wanted to make an immediate impact but they had no money to spend so their options were limited. Very limite...

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"Do they really expect us to climb that?" Karen—Kara, or maybe it's Erin?—asks, arms folded, staring up at the monstrous tree pegged with foot holds leading up to the timberline.I follow her gaze, tracing the series of ropes and wooden steps scattering the trunks and branches high into the sky. We're only at the first course; I think they said the ropes elevated 25 feet at the start, 50 toward the end.I shrug, unable to answer. Or unwilling. I guess it depends on your point of view.You see, there's a difference between being at a silent retr...

The Best New Funny Short Stories

One thing that all humans have in common is the desire to laugh. In fact, laughter is probably one of the things that we crave the most. It’s why we spend so much time scrolling through Facebook memes, Twitter wars, and TikTok videos. It’s why those Vine compilations that we spend hours watching on Youtube claim to clear up acne and solve world conflicts — all because laughter is a medicine. 

However, we don’t all have the same sense of humor: what makes us chuckle isn’t universal. Comedy is injected into writing (whether it’s a novel, a screenplay, or a stand-up script) in a whole variety of ways, including satire, parody, and irony. And that’s where funny short stories come in! Unlike a two hour stand-up show you’re obligated to sit through, or a 300-page novel that keeps making you cringe, you can dip into as many funny short stories as you like — from cheesy rom-coms we can’t help but smile at, to dark comedy, where laughter disguises a deep feeling of anxiety — until you find something that makes you split your sides laughing. 

Looking for short stories to tickle your funny bone?

Every week, hundreds of short stories are submitted by Prompts users to Reedsy’s writing contest. On this page we’ve collected all the stories that made us crack a smile, so whether you’re looking for funny short stories for kids, or the kind that only grown-ups would understand, you’ll find what you’re looking for right here. A little tip from us to you: all the best stories — the ones that actually had us rolling on the floor laughing — are easily found right at the top of the page.  And if you'd like to read the best of the best entries from across 40+ genres, be sure to check out Prompted , our new literary magazine — there's a free copy waiting for you!

And don’t forget, if you’re a funny-boned author up for the challenge of making people laugh, you can join our weekly writing contest — you might just have the last laugh and walk away with a cash prize!

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Bell Ringers

Short story mentor texts to teach narrative writing elements.

Raise your hand if teaching narrative writing has you feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I’ve been there. Every writing unit seems to bring its own challenges and narrative writing has a few unique ones. Unlike other types of writing, narrative writing is more flexible and involves more creativity. But that doesn’t mean it’s without “rules”! Getting students to master the narrative writing elements is what will take their stories to the next level.

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Tips for Teaching Narrative Writing

I spoke about this on another blog about using mentor texts novels, but I am a big fan of using mentor texts to teach narrative writing. Mentor texts allow you to model the skills and narrative writing elements for students, so they aren’t trying to guess at exactly how their writing should look and sound.

Using mentor texts can be as simple as giving students a sentence or excerpt from a text and talking through how it’s a great example of a specific skill. A lot of times, I will pull these mentor texts from novels that the class is reading because students already understand the story.

However, I know there isn’t always time to squeeze in a novel. When you’re in a bind or short on time, using a narrative short story as a mentor text will accomplish the same task as the novel! I recommend reading this short story before or during your writing unit.

Teaching Narrative Writing Elements with Short Stories

Just like you ease students into a narrative writing unit, I don’t want to throw you into the deep end with mentor texts either. I want to walk you through what it looks like to use short stories to teach the narrative writing elements. I’ll give you a few mentor text examples below and show you how I’d use them in the classroom.

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Develop a Point of View

A lot of times, the conversation about point of view is simply, what is the point of view? First-person or third-person? But it goes deeper than that. Developing a point of view means giving the reader intimate knowledge of the character’s experience. It can allow the reader to experience the same sadness or anger that the character feels.

For this narrative writing element, dig deep into the short story you’ve chosen. Find an example from the text where the point of view allows the reader a peek into a character’s mind or feelings.

I like this example from “The Scholarship Jacket”: “I was almost back at my classroom door when I heard voices raised in anger as if in some sort of argument. I stopped. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, I just hesitated, not knowing what to do. I needed those shorts and I was going to be late, but I didn’t want to interrupt an argument between my teachers.”

After looking at your mentor text example, dig into what the reader experiences here. Look at what knowledge the reader gains about the character. For example, this mentor text from “The Scholarship Jacket” is a feeling people can relate to. Overhearing an argument and wondering if you pretend you didn’t hear – or you acknowledge that you overhead.

Establish Context

Another narrative writing element is establishing context for the story. Context means putting the topic into perspective for someone who knows nothing about the story. It also means providing the background information that is needed to grasp the story.

When looking through your short story, identify an excerpt where the reader gains necessary information about a character, setting, or event. This is the kind of information that if removed the story could change how the reader understands it.

Here’s an example from “Masque of Red Death”: “But Prospero, the ruler of that land, was happy and strong and wise. When half the people of his land had died, he called to him a thousand healthy, happy friends, and with them went far away to live in one of his palaces. This was a large and beautiful stone building he had planned himself. A strong, high wall circled it.”

This narrative short story excerpt gives the reader key information. It lets us know who the character Prospero is and why he is bringing people to his palace. This sets the stage for later plot points. After reading your chosen excerpt with students, ask them: What key information did this text provide? How does it help you better understand the story?

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Develop Character Motives

Character motives can be really fun to uncover. With character motives, the reader understands the reason behind the character’s actions.

To find an excerpt for this narrative writing element, think about a pivotal moment in the story. Then, think about the actions and motivations that led to that moment. Try to locate a sentence or passage that showcases those motives.

This is a great example of character motives from “Story of an Hour”: “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.”

In this short story, the character is expected to mourn for her dead husband. Instead, she finds joy in it (which is later shown through her whispering, “Free!”) This gives us a glimpse at her motives. When examining a text for character motives, ask students: What action does the character engage in later? What is their reason for that action?

If you want students to be stronger writers, they need to see examples of what good writing looks like. That’s the power of using mentor texts when teaching narrative writing. They’ll know what context looks like or motives sound like, and they can emulate it in their own writing!

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Celebrate Presidents Day by learning fun, interesting facts about US presidents

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Presidents Day is here. It's a day to commemorate the nation's 46 chief executives dating back to the face of the one-dollar bill.

Did you know Presidents Day , a federal holiday, is originally meant to celebrate the first U.S. president George Washington and was just called "Washington's Birthday" when established in 1879? In fact, the federal government still uses its former name, according to the Department of State .

There's a lot to know about the first president from his successful liquor distiller business to only being a scholar in name because he never attended college.

But he's not the only U.S. president with information many are unaware of. Here are some lesser-known fun and interesting facts about U.S. presidents.

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John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4

Second president John Adams and Thomas Jefferson , the third president, died just within hours of each other.

What made the coincidence even more odd was that the two died on July 4, 1826, just 50 years after the original American Independence Day.

James Madison was the shortest president

Before there were " short kings " there was James Madison . America's fourth president was also the shortest standing at 5’4” and weighing just over 100 pounds.

John Quincy Adams went skinny-dipping daily

Sixth president John Quincy Adams used to go skinny-dipping in the Potomac River . The activity was part of his morning routine for years. 

Martin Van Buren was the first president born in the US

Unlike Washington, Martin Van Buren , the eighth president, was the first president to be born in the U.S. The previous seven were born as Britain subjects.

John Tyler was a father to 15 children

John Tyler not only ran a country but a village. The 10th president fathered 15 children, more than any other. From 1815 to 1860 he welcomed eight sons and seven daughters before his death in 1862.

Abraham Lincoln may have had Marfan Syndrome

Sixteenth president Abraham Lincoln was considered to be the tallest president. His 6'4 height could be explained by him possibly having Marfan Syndrome , a genetic disorder that affects connective tissue from the fibers that support organs to other body structures.

Andrew Johnson befriended mice at the White House

The rumors that Andrew Johnson did not officially have any pets isn't entirely true. The 17th president apparently befriended a family of white mice during his impeachment.

Johnson was also the first president to ever be impeached when the House of Representatives voted to do so after he removed Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from the cabinet, breaching the Tenure of Office Act. The Senate acquitted in a 35-19 vote - just one vote short of the two-thirds required to convict him.

Benjamin Harrison was afraid of touching light switches

President Benjamin Harrison was the first president to live in an electrified White House. The 23rd president and his wife Caroline Harrison both refused to touch light switches out of fear of an electric shock as electricity was very new in the U.S. at the time.

White House staff took on the extra task of turning on and off light switches to avoid taking any chances of electrocution.

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William McKinley was on discontinued $500 bill

William McKinley , the 25th president, had his face and likeness featured on the $500 bill.

The Federal Reserve and the Department of the Treasury discontinued the bill in 1969. The bill is now worth more than just $500, with some collectors willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars under the right conditions.

Racoons lived at the White House during Calvin Coolidge's term

It was quite common to find raccoons around the White House when Calvin Coolidge lived there. The 30th president grew up surrounded by wildlife when he lived on a secluded farm in Plymouth Notch, Vermont and he took his affinity for raccoons when he moved to the Oval Office.

In November 1926, a "cohort of well-intentioned admirers" shipped him a live racoon to roast for Thanksgiving dinner. The Coolidge family refused to eat their friend and a few weeks later the racoon appeared for Christmas in a red ribbon along with the title "Rebecca Raccoon of the White House."

According to a book on Calvin Coolidge , Rebecca even had a presidential diet during his tenure where she ate chicken, eggs, persimmons, green shrimp and cream. She even made public appearances at summer parties and Easter egg rolls.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was a movie buff

Becoming president doesn't mean the end of having hobbies. In addition to being the only president to ever serve more than two terms, Franklin D. Roosevelt was known for his love of cinema. The 32nd president found movies to be an escape from the responsibilities of being president during the Great Depression and World War II.

"He especially liked comedies, particularly the work of the 1930s and 1940s comedy team Abbott and Costello. He even invited them to perform at the White House several times while he was President," the FRD Library and Museum website reads.

Gerald Ford used to be a model before president

There's no denying that appearances often matter for voters in presidential elections . It might have helped that Gerald Ford , the 38th president, had some modeling experience before his term.

After graduating from Yale in 1941, Ford earned extra cash as a model. After joining the Navy in 1942, he even appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine in his uniform, though he never received official credit. He eventually served in World War II until its end in 1945.

Opinion: We know how voters feel about Trump and Biden. But how do the experts rank their presidencies?

Wax figures of nine American presidents.

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Presidents Day occurs at a crucial moment this year, with the presidency on the cusp of crisis as we inexorably shuffle toward a rematch between the incumbent and his predecessor. It’s the sort of contest we haven’t seen since the 19th century, and judging by public opinion of President Biden and former President Trump, most Americans would have preferred to keep it that way.

But the third installment of our Presidential Greatness Project , a poll of presidential experts released this weekend, shows that scholars don’t share American voters’ roughly equal distaste for both candidates.

Biden, in fact, makes his debut in our rankings at No. 14, putting him in the top third of American presidents. Trump, meanwhile, maintains the position he held six years ago: dead last, trailing such historically calamitous chief executives as James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson. In that and other respects, Trump’s radical departure from political, institutional and legal norms has affected knowledgeable assessments not just of him but also of Biden and several other presidents.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump greets supporters as he arrives at a campaign stop in Londonderry, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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The overall survey results reveal stability as well as change in the way scholars assess our nation’s most important and controversial political office. Great presidents have traditionally been viewed as those who presided over moments of national transformation, led the country through major crises and expanded the institution of the presidency. Military victories, economic growth, assassinations and scandals also affect expert assessments of presidential performance.

The presidents at the top of our rankings, and others like ours, reflect this. Hallowed leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and George Washington consistently lead the list.

Our latest rankings also show that the experts’ assessments are driven not only by traditional notions of greatness but also by the evolving values of our time.

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One example is the continuing decline in esteem for two important presidents, Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson. Their reputations have consistently suffered in recent years as modern politics lead scholars to assess their early 19th and 20th century presidencies ever more harshly, especially their unacceptable treatment of marginalized people.

More acutely, this survey has seen a pronounced partisan dynamic emerge, arguably in response to the Trump presidency and the Trumpification of presidential politics.

Proponents of the Biden presidency have strong arguments in their arsenal, but his high placement within the top 15 suggests a powerful anti-Trump factor at work. So far, Biden’s record does not include the military victories or institutional expansion that have typically driven higher rankings, and a family scandal such as the one involving his son Hunter normally diminishes a president’s ranking.

Biden’s most important achievements may be that he rescued the presidency from Trump, resumed a more traditional style of presidential leadership and is gearing up to keep the office out of his predecessor’s hands this fall.

Trump’s position at the bottom of our rankings, meanwhile, puts him behind not only Buchanan and Johnson but also such lowlights as Franklin Pierce, Warren Harding and William Henry Harrison, who died a mere 31 days after taking office.

Trump’s impact goes well beyond his own ranking and Biden’s. Every contemporary Democratic president has moved up in the ranks — Barack Obama (No. 7), Bill Clinton (No. 12) and even Jimmy Carter (No. 22).

Yes, these presidents had great accomplishments such as expanding healthcare access and working to end conflict in the Middle East, and they have two Nobel Prizes among them. But given their shortcomings and failures, their rise seems to be less about reassessments of their administrations than it is a bonus for being neither Trump nor a member of his party.

Indeed, every modern Republican president has dropped in the survey, including the transformational Ronald Reagan (No. 16) and George H.W. Bush (No. 19), who led the nation’s last decisive military victory.

Academics do lean left, but that hasn’t changed since our previous surveys. What these results suggest is not just an added emphasis on a president’s political affiliation, but also the emergence of a president’s fealty to political and institutional norms as a criterion for what makes a president “great” to the scholars who study them.

As for the Americans casting a ballot for the next president, they are in the historically rare position of knowing how both candidates have performed in the job. Whether they will consider each president’s commitment to the norms of presidential leadership, and come to rate them as differently as our experts, remains to be seen.

Justin Vaughn is an associate professor of political science at Coastal Carolina University. Brandon Rottinghaus is a professor of political science at the University of Houston.

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  1. 15 Really Funny Short Stories Because You Want To Laugh Now!

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  2. Funny Joke Stories Clean

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  3. 15 Really Funny Short Stories Because You Want To Laugh Now!

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COMMENTS

  1. 12 Comedy Prompts: Ideas for Writing Funny Short Stories

    9. A man visits Hollywood for the first time. On the first day of his trip, he gets cast in a major soap opera role when a casting director spots him on the street. 10. A college student beats every level of a seemingly impossible superhero video game.

  2. How to Write a Short, Funny Story (with Pictures)

    1 Decide on a setting. Some writers may prefer to plan out the plot before deciding on a setting. However, in comedic writing, humor is often based on situations. Before you start writing out the storyline for your work, it may be helpful to consider where your story might take place and how you can derive humor from that setting. [1]

  3. Comedic Writing: How to Write a Funny Story

    14 types of comedy One of the challenges of comedic writing is that there are so many distinct types of humor. Read a quick breakdown of fourteen types: Jokes are short stories or one-liners that consist of a setup and a punchline. For instance, 'My grandfather has the heart of a lion and a lifetime ban at the zoo' ( via Bored Panda ).

  4. How to Write Funny Stories (with Pictures)

    1 Identify your style of humor. When you sit down to write a funny story, you need to be aware of your personal style of humor. If you're trying to write in a style that doesn't fit your strengths as a comedian or storyteller, then your story may not be as strong as it could be. There are many different types/styles of humor.

  5. Comedy Writing, How to Write Humour, Funny Short Stories Tips & Advice

    The best funny short stories I read all have the following in common: The writer uses humour to support a great story. They do not try to be funny for the sake of being funny. Think of a story like a roast dinner. The main focus is the meat - beef, lamb, pork, chicken or whatever. Gravy is used to compliment the meal.

  6. How to Make Your Writing Funny: 10 Tips for Writing Humorous Stories

    Written by MasterClass Last updated: Aug 23, 2021 • 4 min read Humor is a device that can be used in many writing genres. Whether you're a freelance writer for magazines, a blogger, or a fiction writer, knowing how to write funny prose and make people laugh out loud is a great skill to have.

  7. How to Write Comedy

    By Chris Heckmann on May 8, 2022 Ask any creative writer what the hardest genre to write is and they'll probably tell you that it's comedy. That's because story structure can only bring you so far in comedy writing - the fact of the matter is that if you aren't funny, you aren't funny. So how do you become funny? Do you read joke books? No!

  8. 18 Ways to Write Funnier Fast

    Susan Shapiro Jul 26, 2018 We're not all comedy writers, but many of us want to write a funny story or incorporate funny scenes into a novel. In this excerpt from The Byline Bible, Susan Shapiro offers 18 quick and easy ways to improve at eliciting laughs from your readers.

  9. Best Funny Writing Prompts of 2023

    🏆 Featuring 12 prize-winning stories from our community. Download it now for FREE . Download Write a story inspired by the phrase "It's hardly brain surgery." Funny - 35 stories Write a story inspired by the concept of arigata-meiwaku — a favor that turns out to be a nuisance for its recipient. Funny - 54 stories

  10. Best Funny Story Ideas to Inspire Your Writing

    1 2 … 8 Next › Prepare to kick your writing into gear by browsing through our list of 200+ Funny short story ideas. New prompts are added each week, and you can search by genre.

  11. How to Mix Humor Into Your Writing

    How to Write Better Using Humor It may sound funny, but it's true: Humor is a great way to hook readers, no matter the subject. Here's how to write better nonfiction simply by lightening the mood. Leigh Anne Jasheway Jan 26, 2016 A man walks into a bookstore. "Where's the self-help section?" he asks the clerk.

  12. 49 Funny Writing Prompts to Spark Your Imagination

    Funny Writing Prompts 1. Write a story about a group of superheroes forced to work in a call center after their city is destroyed. 2. Write a scene where a cat and a dog switch bodies and must navigate each other's worlds. 3. Write a story about a vampire who opens a blood bank to help feed his fellow vampires. 4.

  13. Funny Writing Prompts: 50+ Ideas to Get Your Started

    Pick a funny writing prompt from the list below to get the creative juices flowing. Since there's a wide range of uses for comedy across all genres, not every prompt below will be suitable for an entire novel. Some are designed to start off a scene or a short story. Others you can use to break through writer's block by writing a poem or a funny ...

  14. How to Write a Short Story in 9 Simple Steps

    Know what a short story is versus a novel. 2. Pick a simple, central premise. 3. Build a small but distinct cast of characters. 4. Begin writing close to the end. 5. Shut out your internal editor.

  15. Comedy Writing Prompts: 15+ Ideas To Tickle Your Readers' Funny Bone

    Comedy is a challenging genre to get right. However, even the funniest short story can capture a reader's attention when done right. You can start writing a well-structured story with interesting characters and even a surprise ending, but it's not a good comedy if you're not funny.. Below, we've included a list of over 15 comedy writing prompts to help you get started.

  16. 101 Funny Story Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind

    Short Story: Write a short story about a robot who falls in love with a toaster. 33. ... Funny Short Stories: A short story about a world where laughing is the currency. 92. Comedy Writing: A comedy club for mimes. 93. Funny Stories: A story about a world where the more you laugh, the longer you live.

  17. 55 Funny Writing Prompts To Get Them Laughing

    1. Write about someone trying to explain to a teacher that their dog did, in fact, eat their homework. 2. Write about two characters — with entirely different lives and personalities- switching bodies. 3. Write about a little boy accidentally switching bodies with his dad for a day. 4. Write about someone playing the perfect April Fools Day prank.

  18. 101 Hilarious (or Slightly Amusing) Comedic Story Prompts

    1. Two opposing football coaches from rival schools fall in love with each other. 2. A man is afraid of everything. 3. A mom is obsessed with wanting to be popular amongst her teenage daughter's friends and peers. 4. A past arcade game champion from the 1980s quits his job to travel the country getting high scores on classic arcade game consoles.

  19. Top 100 Short Story Ideas

    Top 10 Story Ideas. Tell the story of a scar. A group of children discover a dead body. A young prodigy becomes orphaned. A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost. A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her. A talented young man's deepest fear is holding his life back.

  20. The Best Funny Stories: Funny Short Stories to Tell Your Friends

    See how your stories compare with these with these funny short stories you can share with the whole family. ... I shared with my coworkers this example to illustrate how writing can skew based on ...

  21. 50+ Short Funny Stories That Will Crack You Up In 60 Seconds

    Get ready for a hurricane of LOL as you read all these funny short stories. 1. Now that's what I call stupid: In my junior year of high school, this guy asked me on a date. He rented a Redbox movie and made a pizza. We were watching the movie and the oven beeped so the pizza was done. He looked me dead in the eye and said, "This is the worst part."

  22. Writing 2 : A funny story

    II- Sample story 2. I was coming out of my English class one afternoon wearing my new high heels. But coming down some stairs, I lost my balance and started to wobble. And suddenly, I knew I was going to fall! As I fell. I grabbed on to someone's legs to stop falling. Of curse, it didn't help, and I fell anyway.

  23. 2024 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 24

    Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by Managing Editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to rewrite a nursery rhyme.

  24. 7030+ Funny Short Stories to read

    7030+ Funny Short Stories to read Submitted by writers on Reedsy Prompts to our weekly writing contest. The world can get dreary and overwhelming, so when you're looking to have a good laugh, take a scroll through our free collection of funny short stories. 🏆 Winning stories " Clearance Aisle Libations " by Bay Colt 🏆 Winner of Contest #222

  25. Short Story Mentor Texts to Teach Narrative Writing Elements

    Teaching Narrative Writing Elements with Short Stories. Just like you ease students into a narrative writing unit, I don't want to throw you into the deep end with mentor texts either. I want to walk you through what it looks like to use short stories to teach the narrative writing elements. I'll give you a few mentor text examples below ...

  26. Presidents Day: Fun and strange facts revealed about US presidents

    Presidents Day is here. It's a day to commemorate the nation's 46 chief executives dating back to the face of the one-dollar bill. There's a lot to know about the first president from his ...

  27. 2024 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 25

    Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by Managing Editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about someone experiencing something for the first time.

  28. Experts rank Biden among the best presidents. Trump? Not so much

    This Presidents Day, Trumpism is affecting assessments of Obama, Reagan and others. Today's politics have also diminished the likes of Jackson and Wilson.