Warning Will Robinson, Blog Stuff Ahead: by Kait Carson

Sometimes it’s hard to go first when you’re writing a themed blog. I always want to know what other folks are writing about. How my blog sisters will approach the theme. What will catch their fancy? Inquiring minds what to know. Then again, going early allows me to set the bar, a bit, and maybe the tenor of the theme—to a certain extent. That part is fun.

This month’s theme is humor and laughter. The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the calendar was Robin Williams in his Patch Adams costume. Remember him? The doctor who used humor to treat his patients? Then I remembered Robin Williams’s tragic end. The fine line between comedy and pathos.

OK, tuck that away and turn to books. Humorous books. Laugh out loud funny books. I live in Florida. Carl Hiaasen springs to mind – then there is Dave Barry. Oh my. Yes, both are hysterical. Carl writes mysteries of course. Dave. Well, he writes. I still have an article Dave wrote after Hurricane Andrew (1992) where he happened to mention that if Bryan Norcross (weathercaster extraordinaire) happened to suggest we pull our dirty underwear over our heads and wear it outside to avoid another hurricane, all of South Florida would be thusly attired. All of South Florida laughed hysterically at the suggestion. Then we contemplated our cleanest pair of dirty undies in case the suggestion was made.

Carl’s books always have characters that I know I’ve met in real life if only I could remember where. In the 1980s the Dade (we hadn’t become Miami-Dade yet) County Chamber of Commerce launched an ad campaign that touted “the rules are different here.” Floridians, especially transplanted Floridians, took the campaign to heart and maybe massaged it to mean the rules don’t exist here. Carl exploits that very natural mistake. I mean, anyone could see how it could happen. Right? Humorous writing. When you dissect it you discover that it’s merely reality, from a sideways slant.

Sounds so simple. Some cozy writers do it so well. Janet Evanovich and own Diane Vallere to name two make it look so easy. I’ve tried. Won’t work. Anyone like bread without yeast. That’s how my humor writing comes off. Which is strange. Because in real life—I’m funny. My natural viewpoint is slightly left of center (NOT a political statement but a way of looking at things from a different perspective). However, when I write it—I feel the need to explain. See the previous statement. SO – hats off to the humor writers. They give us the gift of natural laughter and lighten our daily life. What’s more, done well, it looks so easy.

Oh, the Robbie comment. Anyone ever wonder what happened to Robbie the Robot? Well, this is supposed to be a true story, but it’s funny, and maybe true. A Tennessee, or maybe Kentucky, bar owner bought Robbie at auction. He had him in the pickup bed of his truck and was driving him to the bar. Somewhere between the auction and home, the driver was in a wreck and Robbie flew into a ditch. When the paramedics and the police arrived, the bar owners was concerned and kept talking about the robot in the ditch…the rest, as they say, is local legend, but it all worked out well, and now, I understand, you and raise a glass with Robbie in Tennessee, or maybe Kentucky, and the first responders drink for free.

Don’t you love a dash of lightness in the day? I do.



Author: kaitcarson

I write mysteries set in South Florida. The Hayden Kent series is set in the Florida Keys. Hayden is a SCUBA diving paralegal who keeps finding bodies. Underwater, no one can hear you scream! Catherine Swope is a Miami Realtor with a penchant for finding bodies in the darndest places. I live in an airpark in Fort Denaud, FL with my husband, five cats, and a flock of conures. And oh yes, a Piper Cherokee 6 in the hangar!

12 thoughts on “Warning Will Robinson, Blog Stuff Ahead: by Kait Carson”

  1. Me neither. If I’m funny, it’s by accident. I so admire those who can do it. Rhys Bowen comes to mind her in Royal Spyness series. When things are low and I need a laugh, I buy one of her audiobooks and listen to it.


  2. Great post, Kait! Dave Barry is hilarious; one of my New Year traditions is to read his Year in Review 🙂 Humor is definitely tough but so essential, which is why I appreciate authors who do it well!


  3. I didn’t mean first, I meant in the first batch! Pamela did such a great blog yesterday. So, we all agree, humor is harder. I wonder if that’s what makes it so sweet? Keep it coming, those who make it look so easy, the rest of us poor stiffs do appreciate it. Rhys, yes! Her Royal Spyness – what a spectacular read – currently working my way through the series.


  4. Although some would say that there can’t be anything funny about crime and dead bodies, I think there has to be at least some light hearted humor in mystery books for me to enjoy them.

    I like reading Diane Vallere and Carl Hiaasen BECAUSE they are humorous, even in the most unpleasant circumstances. That gives me hope that I can find humor in “regular” life as well. I specifically seek out book such as these to help my mind “reset” so to speak after reading a gut wrenching thriller or nail-biting crime story.

    After all, if those fictional characters can find in the midst of such trauma (and make me laugh out loud sometimes as I read) , I can certainly laugh my way through my ordinary life.


  5. I watch a lot — A LOT — of stand-up comedy and I always wonder about that nebulous line between a rough childhood and comedians. They seem to be over-represented in the world of stand up. I read “The Humor Code” by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner, two social scientists (if memory serves) traveling the globe to figure out what makes stuff funny. Quite enjoyed it.


  6. Hi, 3 good to see you! I’m in your camp, and I bet, politically incorrect though it may be, that there is a certain amount of gallows humor in among first responders and trauma workers. Not out of a lack of respect, of out of a need to save sanity.

    Becky, never encountered The Humor Code. Sounds interesting, and a good source for some nuggets of information. Have to look that up.


  7. To me, humor in writing requires a light hand. Especially humor in thrillers. It has to be okay if most people miss it. And it has to be “airy” enough that while a reader might smile a bit, it doesn’t take them out of the story.


  8. Yes Kait, and I have some first responders in my family (in fire, EMT, and police field; while I have learned to appreciate the “non mainstream” humor they have developed just to get through each shift and/or incident, you do NOT want me to EVER repeat any of it. Of course that is coming from a person who just LOVES a book with a high “body count.” What can say? It is what it is, and all I can do is laugh my way through each day and love every minute of it. OK, now you all go back to writing those body-count stories!!


  9. I missed this yesterday somehow! Great post. I love all the Florida I can get. Carl Hiaasen books are some of my favorite. 🙂


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