A microphone, as you might see a stand-up comic use

Short Story Challenge Week 16: Comedy Isn’t

And now for something completely different.

For this week’s short story challenge, I’ve decided to do something different.

Quite different in fact, because this week’s short story isn’t a story at all.

It’s a poem.

It’s been a very long time since I wrote any poetry at all. Decades in fact, because the last time I can recall writing poetry with any kind of regularity, I was in high school.

Oddly, I find myself writing this in the very town I finished up my high schooling, so it seems an appropriate time to revisit the form.

I’m also somewhat inspired by recent events in my own life to dip my toes into poetry again. It’s probably awful, but you never know if you never try. The poetry I wrote back in the day certainly was.

For those figuring that writing a poem breaks the rules of my short story challenge, I’ll refer you back to the rules I set back in week one, which stated:

One story a week, over a span of 52 weeks.

That’s the rules.

That’s all the rules, because this time I’m not putting word limits, or working time limits or anything else on myself.

Is a poem a short story? After consulting with the judges (me, myself and I)… I’m going to allow this.

Poetry is challenging, and I’ve been working on this one all week. I still don’t love it, but it’s time to set it free. I hope you like it, or at least can tolerate it.

Comedy Isn’t

A microphone, as you might see a stand-up comic use

Comedy isn’t what you think it is
Or what it should be a lot of the time.

Comedy isn’t a setup, a diversion, a punchline,
A gasp for the intake of air
An explosion of laughter
A redness of face
A dropping of jaw
Or a widening of eyes in pleasant surprise.

Comedy isn’t that simple.

Comedy is truth.

Truth is hard, but comedy files the harsh edges away.

Comedy punctures the rich,
Letting the air out of the self-important
as
it
dribbles out
Like a rich, moist but undeniable fart
It assaults the senses and demands attention.

Comedy needs to be lived, experienced and heard.

Comedy can have a punch, but not all punches are comedy.

A setup, a diversion, a punchline can punch down.

There’s a different word for that.

Abuse.


As it’s now week 16 of my challenge, that means you’ve got 15 other works you could also dip your reading toes into… not that you have reading toes, that’s a terrible metaphor, forget I said that… look, there’s 15 other pieces you can read. Here they are, go read them while I hide in shame for the creation of reading toes, would you?

Short Story Challenge Week 1: Before The War

Short Story Challenge Week 2: Apples Cannot Scream

Short Story Challenge Week 3: Blankets

Short Story Challenge Week 4: Charles Leadworth

Short Story Challenge Week 5: Cloud Running

Short Story Challenge Week 6: The Bowl

Short Story Challenge Week 7: Mr Breckinridge

Short Story Challenge Week 8: Inspiration

Short Story Challenge Week 9: FreeDog

Short Story Challenge Week 10: Black Dog

Short Story Challenge Week 11: I Don’t Know What To Do

Short Story Challenge Week 12: Sacrifice

Short Story Challenge Week 13: Oak House

Short Story Challenge Week 14: Inside The Tube

Short Story Challenge Week 15: Sackcloth and Ashes

Of course, there might be even more than that, depending on when you’re reading this. Click on the short story challenge tag if you’re some kind of person from the future of when I’m writing this now, still inwardly cringing about the whole reading toes thing.


Want even more reading material? The last time I did one of these challenges, it ended up being an eBook all of its own, called Fifty-Two:


Buy Fifty Two through Amazon for your Kindle e-reader here.

Buy Fifty Two through Apple for your iPad or iOS devices/Macs here.

Buy Fifty Two through Smashwords for any other e-reader format here.


And if you want something entirely different, there’s also my B-movie novel, Sharksplosion. Yeah, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d think a book with that title might be like:

Buy Sharksplosion for Amazon Kindle

Buy Sharksplosion for iBooks (iPhone, iPad, etc)

Buy Sharksplosion for all other e-readers through Smashwords


About the author

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

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