Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

…Find humor in any situation

Funny = Tragedy + Time

Many of my favorite jokes are about my worst memories. Those moments stir the most emotional response in all of us. We just need time to look at them anew. In the first show I wrote, Death by Chocolate, the most consistent laughs involved my toughest memories. Suddenly, they were funny. Try it. Re-tell that story about splitting your pants in school; or the awful first date who started flossing after the entrée; even the moment that broke your heart. See whether there isn’t something in there now that you find funny. And if you do, let me know—I’m always looking for new material!

—Mike Dorval ’96

Dorval (www.mikedorval.com), a comedian, actor and writer who lives in Boston, says he’s an expert on humor because, “My mortgage payments only get made when I can make people laugh!”

EXAMPLE: “After three years my then girlfriend decided it was time for us to break up. Quite naturally, she thought she should probably move out of our apartment as well. To be fair, that would have been an awkward roommate situation. She started packing in the kitchen, and continued until my kitchen was bare. She packed the paper towels. She packed the ice cube trays. There was a used sponge on the sink that had, maybe, one or two washes left in it. Packed it. Well, she couldn’t throw it out—she’d already packed the trash can. It looked like I had been robbed by the Grinch.”

—Mike Dorval likely will use this one in the new show he’s writing about online dating and getting engaged.

About Lee Nash

Lee Nash is an award-winning writer who lives in Cranston, R.I.