Essay writing is a chore to some people and a delight to others. A funny essay with humorous anecdotes or biting wit requires a different strategy than an informative or persuasive composition does. An essay that is funny stretches the typical writing rules you might have learned in school. Funny essays tend to incorporate more conversational language, with vivid punctuation and colorful verbs. Some of the best writing tips for writing a funny essay include the use of timing, irony, hyperbole and colorful sentence structure as well as learning from other writers and developing an aptitude for looking at life's situations from a unique perspective.
All comedic writing, from stand-up comedian monologues to assigned school papers, requires exceptional timing and hyperbole. Use the element of surprise as a theme, utilizing a play on words or ironic misunderstandings of words as seen in Mark Twain's writings or the famous "Who's On First" dialogue of Abbott and Costello. Hyperbole, the use of wordy extravagance or exaggeration — "it was as slow as molasses in January" — is a marvelous tool for developing visual images and drawing the reader into the story. Historian Horace Walpole and beloved writer Erma Bombeck often used satirical, ironic and witty hyperbole in their writings, twisting their political and personal situations into jovial gut-busters.
Learn from the masters of witty literature. Twain, Bombeck, Horace Walpole and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. are good examples of funny writers. These authors learned the art of satire and self-deprecation, the act of undervaluing yourself for the sake of the story. A funny essay might characterize your propensity for losing your car keys and describe in exaggerated detail all of the trouble it brings. Rather than weighing down your reader with florid adjectives, apply the power of strong verbs to pack a punny punch. Alliteration works well, too.
Every good essay has an introduction, a main body and a concluding paragraph. A funny essay incorporates these pieces as well, but rather than listing facts in descriptive prose, a funny essay tells a story with an introduction, a climax and an unexpected conclusion. Keep the introduction and conclusion brief, and focus on telling the funny story. Never deviate into other topics; stay true to the main thesis and utilize imaginative words that spring naturally from the story. Use strong punctuation to emphasize your point, but avoid excessive marking.
Finally, look at everyday situations from a different perspective, such as through a child's eyes or perhaps as a magical toy that can think. With such a mind-set, you can extract wit or humor from even the most dull or mundane situations or events. Telling a story from an unexpected angle engages the reader. Spirited verbs and hyperbole encourage him or her to keep reading. The ironical or satirical ending completes the funny essay.