Darthipedia:Handbook for the Humor-Impaired

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This is an essay.

It is not a policy, but it is considered a general guideline designed to help improve the site and its community. Please update the page as needed, or discuss it on the talk page.

Nutshell.png

This page in a nutshell:

This page fits in the nutshell since Darth Nihilus ate said nut.

Your hungry hungry host.

Do you want to write an article for Darthipedia? Sure, we all do.

But how do ya do it well? That's what this Handbook for the Humor-Impaired is for.

Hi, I'm Darth Nihilus. When the folks at Darthipedia asked me if I'd host their Handbook for the Humor-Impaired, my first thought was, "Is there a lunch included?" Well, sure enough, they used their gnarly Sith powers to read my mind, and before you can say "*mumblegrumblemumble*," they'd set up one helluva spread. I mean deviled eggs, salmon cakes on little poppyseed crackers, a whole big thing of Jawa juice... Oh, and these fantastic little ham thingies, where they roll up the ham and it's got cream cheese in there, with chives and—

Oh—I'm being told I should get on with it. So without further ado, let's dive right in and gorge ourselves on the Darthipedia Handbook for the Humor-Impaired.

How Do I Be Funny?

"Humor is a complete mystery."
―E. B. White

First of all, if you think you're not funny, you're probably not funny. (At least not intentionally.) Far more people erroneously believe they are funny than the other way around, or vice versa as we fancy educated types like to say.

That's not meant to discourage you! If you think you're funny, you probably have potential at the very least.

No, the truly discouraging part is that nobody can tell you how to be funny (or funnier). "Dying is easy, comedy is hard," as some famous and probably dead person said. Consistently successful humor is not an easy thing to produce; that's why stand-up comedians make the big bucks.

(That was a joke. Stand-up comedians make less than teachers. Sad really, seeing as how you learn more from the former. But I'm rambling again.)

What we can tell you is that there are certain techniques that usually produce humorous results. Some of them are listed below.

  • Be unpredictable. Toy with your readers. Mislead and surprise them. Gently caress their thighs.
  • Start normal, but get more ridiculous. Any good farce starts with a fairly straight set-up, then gets nuttier and nuttier.
  • Pull a switcheroo. Two elements in a sentence commonly used in one sequence can sometimes be funny when used in the opposite sequence. SOMETIMES. This isn't an easy thing to pull off. Neither is the next one.
  • Use layered jokes. Truly sublime humor is funny on multiple levels, or is funny and then funnier yet.
    Example: "This user opposes slavery and supports the liberation of all Twi'lek females in my bed. The galaxy, I mean. The galaxy in my bed."[1] If you have to think about it for a second, it's often funnier as a result.
A Tasty Tidbit from Darth Nihilus!
Nothing says "comedy" like tragedy. Paradoxical? Sure... but think about how much humor has its roots in pain—be it existential angst or a lightsaber to the groin.

What tends to not be funny in wiki format is scenes that you imagine would be hilarious in a slapstick movie. (See the above lightsaber example.) An article about Darth Klutz that contains nothing but him falling down the stairs and spilling things on himself would only work if an additional layer of comedy was added.

How Nonsensical Should I Be?

Go easy on the nonsense. Just because Darthipedia is loaded with crazy stuff doesn't mean articles should lack structure, coherence, and clarity. The least funny people I've known were those who said random goofy stuff when they perceived one of those moments that a truly funny person would have exploited to actually-comic effect.

Humor that's close to reality, but tweaks it a little (sometimes barely at all), is usually funnier. Some of the funniest people I've known had a habit of saying humorous things that were so close to the truth that, months or years later, they were the truth. (This is why many humorists are deeply pessimistic.)

A Tasty Tidbit from Darth Nihilus!
Notice how the preceding parenthetical was both informative and funny, if read from the appropriate perspective. And you wonder why the site has a black background. Feh.

What Sort of Style Should I Use?

Darthipedia is nominally an encyclopedia, and many (if not most) of our articles are encyclopedic in style. But yours need not be.

Often, however, a more dry, professional tone makes the content funnier than if (for example) you were to write "C-3PO is gay lolz." Especially if you are parodying anything at Wookieepedia (we have a few articles that do), it's best to mimic Wookieepedia's encyclopedic (and occasionally pedantic) style. There's a reason British humor (excuse me, humour) is so beloved: it gets a lot of mileage out of the stereotypical British pomp and stuffiness.

Sometimes, however, a more casual and conversational tone is appropriate. We here at Darthipedia encourage writers to experiment with a variety of styles, but when in doubt, to fall back on encyclopedic tone as a baseline. This document, for example, uses a somewhat more one-on-one, personal tone, which better befits the purpose of the Handbook and allows me, Darth Nihilus, to share tasty tidbits with you, the reader.

A Tasty Tidbit from Darth Nihilus!
Don't change the tone of individual articles too often. Most topics, and most jokes, work best when the style is internally consistent.

It's also worth noting that a willfully unprofessional tone, riddled with spelling errors and unnecessary punctuation, is not going to be funny in most cases.

How Profane Should I Be?

We do not have any sort of prohibition on it, but avoid using obscenity solely for its own sake. In most cases, ask yourself, "Would I say this in front of my grandma[2]?" If you'd honestly answer "It's too funny not to," then go right ahead; usually, though, it won't be necessary. Most people do not find gratuitous references to your schlong to be funny. (Whether people find your schlong itself to be funny is a personal matter.)

A Tasty Tidbit from Darth Nihilus!
Notice how the preceding parenthetical was only slightly funny. That's meant as an instructive example, what we in the Handbook-hosting industry call a "teachable moment."

Profanity and gross-out humor has a narrower audience than lots of other types of humor. Therefore, prefer those other types in your writing.

How Satirical and/or Socially Aware Should I Be?

Just enough to be funny—no more! Political and/or topical and/or satirical content is difficult to do well in any context, let alone the Star Wars context. If you go into the article with the express purpose of Making a Point or Taking a Stand, it will Not Be Funny and possibly wind up Nominated for Deletion.

How Original Should I Be?

Very. Darthipedia:Dos and Don'ts addresses this to some extent. Let me elaborate further.

Avoid "jokes" about Chuck Norris, All Your Base Are Belong to Us, the Russian Reversal, Leeroy Jenkins, your mom, Barney, Sparta... those types of things. If you saw it on another site and laughed at it, it probably doesn't merit inclusion in your Darthipedia submission.

A lot of the least funny content on humor wikis shows signs of having been written by someone who really tried hard to squeeze out something funny. Don't be that someone. Wait for inspiration, or better yet, find an inspired article that needs improvement and work on it; let it inspire you.

How Closely Should I Follow the Community?

If you are an experienced wiki editor or writer who wants to try your hand at humor, I'm sure you've asked yourself this at least once. Trouble is, there's no straight answer. (Nor is there a crooked one, in case you were wondering.)

Darthipedia, like most sites on the Internet, has a wide variety of users and contributors. If scat jokes happen to be the soup du jour, that doesn't mean you have to limit yourself to that type of humor. Though this page may pretend to indicate otherwise, we're really a pretty fun bunch who are welcoming of newcomers.

A Tasty Tidbit from Darth Nihilus!
While the community seems to share a(n) (ir)reverence for the Sith, you need not do so. Jedi are just as easy to make fun of or idolize, as are these guys and these gals.

As I said before, an encyclopedic tone is a good fallback position; this is particularly handy if you're used to such writing.

What Is Safe and Unsafe to Allude To?

I'm glad you asked. Allow me to respond in bulleted-list form.

  • Pop-culture references are just fine. And don't be afraid to be obscure. If you try to out-Dennis-Miller Dennis Miller, you'll probably fail, but it was worth trying, anyway. Just don't make the same pop-culture references that everybody always makes. And don't overdo it—in-universe celebrities (like Boba Fett) are safer and often funnier to namedrop than Britney Spears.
  • Mocking serious stuff is usually fine. That includes everything from the talky scenes in Phantom Menace to the Holocaust. Just remember: No personal attacks.
  • Avoid in-jokes. You and your friends might find it hilarious. But what about everybody else? Your "Darth Tom" article, therefore, had better be about Tom Landry or somebody else we could be expected to know.

Note that we do make an exception for Darthipedia-related in-jokes, but they work better when you link to the article you're referencing.

Why Are You Abandoning Me?

Because I see a footlong hoagie with my name on it over there. And besides, you can't have me holding your hand forever. (How will I eat the hoagie?)

So until next time, I'm Darth Nihilus, reminding you to be funny or get your ass over to Wookieepedia.

Footnotes

  1. Source: This Wookieepedian's userpage
  2. NOT your grandpa. He's randier than you think.


External links