Uncyclopedia:How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid

From Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia.
(Redirected from UN:DUMB)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Blue check.png

This page is considered an ignorable policy on Uncyclopedia.
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that everyone should follow, unless they don't want to, in which case they are free to ignore it, in which case nobody will care. Please make use of the standing on one knee position to propose to this policy.

“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”

~ Oscar Wilde on homogeneous, repeated potty humor

“Anybody can write a three word article. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature.”

~ Oscar Wilde on writing

“Great articles are 1% inspiration and 99% masturbation.”

~ Albert Einstein on writing

In this article you will learn in 17 easy steps how to be creative, original and inimitable. The process was broken down to be so easy, even children can apply it. After reading it, you will be qualified to be funny for a living. If someone says you're not funny, you just have to show your certification.

Note: Some of the ideas here are sporked from Prolixipaedia Manual of Comedic Writing.

This text was considered too serious, and therefore put into a box:
Uncyclopedia gets about 300 new articles a day.
Out of those 300, about 290 of them die before they turn 1 day old.
Don't let this happen to you! Follow the advice below.
Now in print!

The Big Picture: Understand the "Frame" of the Uncyclopedia Setup

What makes Uncyclopedia great is that it's a satire of an encyclopedia, kind of like The Daily Show is of television news. This is called a "frame," a clever outline into which your brilliant humor can go. We actually have several "satirical frames," such as UnNews, UnBooks, Why?, HowTo and UnTunes. This just means we've done half of the work for you, and you can fill in the rest if you understand how a frame works.

How does a frame work? Let's use The Daily Show as an example. Jon Stewart delivers the same news as CNN does, but with pointed contrasts that mock newsmakers' and anchors' foibles. This is satire: same basic content with specific, pointed contrasts. Humor is about unexpected contrast. And just as many people get their news from The Daily Show, so do many of our best articles have a great deal of serious, Encyclopedia-quality information; the presence of this serious information actually makes the funny contrasts possible.

Consider Uncyclopedia a brilliant setup for your jokes, and the rest of this page will show you how to write the punchline.

Be a Comedian: Advice About Nonsense and Opposites

This guy wanted to be funny, but failed to read our guide.
  • The truth is usually funnier than nonsense. The funniest pages are those closest to the truth.
  • Example: "Erik Estrada was born in 480182525234 BC to Chuck Norris and Oprah for the sole purpose of fucking up humanity."
Stupid. Pointless drivel. Although possibly funny within the somewhat dry context of the page, without that contrast it lacks any kind of humor.
  • Example: "Erik Estrada is an American television actor, known for a successful career in the California Highway Patrol following his retirement from the television, or 'prostitution' industry."
Funnier because it's closer to the truth. "CHiPS" was a real TV show. Blending fact with fiction, or blurring that line makes for better comedy. This is not a particularly hilarious line, but you get the idea.

Perhaps two-thirds of the articles are random nonsense. Little to nothing distinguishes them. Patent nonsense can be hilarious, it may get a laugh the first time, but it quickly gets dull. If someone types in "Frodo Baggins", the article should have more to do with Frodo Baggins than if they typed in "Dinosaur". They want to read a humorous slant on Frodo Baggins, not an article on a Dutch mink farmer with laser-beam eyes.

A longer, but still clever, article is better than spamming the index full of thousands of small one liners about giraffes and bathtubs. It forces us to clean up the bad stuff. Please write good stuff.

Keep this all in mind when you write an article, and things will be good.

  • If all else fails, follow rule three, unless that also fails. Then you should stop writing and become a politician.

Some basic techniques of humor writing

  • Repetition. This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then repeat it, and then say it some more. Two or three times. Example: In his spare time, young Luke Skywalker enjoyed driving his land speeder, whining, shooting womp-rats, cruising for chicks in Mos Eisley, whining, nerf-herding, and whining. Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be careful.
Don't be afraid to ask others what they think of your articles.
  • Misdirection. A little more sophisticated and "witty" than repetition. Appear to go one direction with your writing, but end up in a completely different place. For instance: Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
If your readers see where you're going with your joke, it won't be as funny, but if they don't see what's coming, you can probably sift through their wallet before the paramedics arrive.
  • Escalation: The key to the absurd style, but all around a good technique. Start out reasonable and sensible, then become increasingly extreme, irrational, and absurd. Example: Among the monastic sins listed by Saint Anselm are sodomy, bestiality, masturbation, dry-humping pillows, wearing clean underwear, touching oneself below the neck, heavy breathing, and approaching closer than 40 furlongs to a female of any mammalian species. Starting out absurd and staying that way is rarely funny. Absurdity can be funny, but it helps to work up to it from a serious- or at least, less-absurd- starting point. This is true whether you're dealing with a single sentence, a whole article, or putting live moray eels down your pants.
  • Repetition. This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won. Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.
  • Being Self-referential. Again, sort of an obvious technique but it can be funny. "Repetition" repeats, "Misdirection" veers off into Australia, "Escalation" escalates. See this article's section on Being Self Referential.
  • Understatement. For instance, "many people would say that the Holocaust was not a good thing". Writing "OMG this kid in my class Joe Shmoe is so stupid!" is not as funny as taking a more understated approach such as "Joe Shmoe is not quite as intelligent as a mildly retarded woodchuck suffering from late-stage syphilis." Not that you're allowed to write about your classmates, though. An example is Coruscant, a "slightly overpopulated planet". Not that the article is good, though.
There are many angles you can try when writing a funny article.
  • Reversal. Example: Local cancer loses battle with woman. Other example: Work is the curse of the drinking classes. - Oscar Wilde.
  • Repetition. This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won. Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.
  • Circularity. For an example, see Being Circular.
  • Being Circular. For an example, see Circularity. (again, this is a dumb but effective technique, if it isn't overused).
  • Be silly about serious things. Examples include Segregation or Axis of Evil Hot Dog Eating Competition. This mostly goes along with the misdirection rule. If your article is going to be about a serious topic, write it from a loony perspective. An article on "Axis of Evil" sounds like it would have to do with current/historical events, but throwing a hot dog eating competition into the mix isn't something you might expect.
  • Be serious about silly things. Examples include Handgun and The GI Joe-Transformers War. Pretty much the opposite of the previous one. Folding your hand into a gun shape, pointing it, and going "bang bang!" isn't something you'd expect to have a grave perspective, but it can really add to the humour of the article, especially when you step back and realize "wait a minute, they're talking about robot Nazis! That's completely ridiculous!" We don't recommend you write an article on robot Nazis, however.
  • Repetition. This one is stupid, but it works. Say something over and over, and then write it again in a different style, and then say it some more. Three or four times. Example: Enslaved persons didn't like being forced to work, but nobody cared and they were whipped and auctioned off. The government agreed that nobody cared about black people and prohibited giving them rights. There was a civil war, but nobody cares why or who won. Sometimes, driving a joke into the ground makes it funnier. Other times, it just makes the joke dead, so please be careful, cautious, and vigilant if you decide to use this technique. And also be cautious.
Straight man.
  • The Straight Man. A common beginner's mistake is to be ridiculous the whole way through. However, being serious is a vital part of being frivolous. They're yin and yang, opposites that need each other. In a comic routine, this role is served by the 'straight man'. Marge Simpson's seriousness throws Homer's idiocy into sharp relief; Graham Chapman plays his King Arthur completely deadpan, making the rest of Monty Python and the Holy Grail that much more absurd by comparison. Generally speaking, you'll need some sections of your writing to serve as the "straight man". These are all the non-joke things: the background information, facts or factual sounding statements, the stuff that builds up to and supports the jokes, the punchlines, the non-sequiturs and the bizarre twists, making them sound that much more brain damaged by comparison. If your goal is to sound like a lunatic, it helps to have a sane man in the room. Examples include Hiroshima and Fire hydrant.
  • Write in a Consistent Style. Uncyclopedia uses a lot of different styles. Some articles read as if they're been written by a college professor, many sound like they're written by a mentally challenged 13-year-old, and most of the... well, it's not entirely clear that these were written by something with opposable thumbs and no fingers. However it usually works best to write a single article in a single style. That is, you would read it and assume a single person wrote it. It should not read like paragraph 1 is the work of a five year old girl, paragraph 2 is the work of a crotchety old man, and paragraph 3 resulted from a collaboration by an epileptic goat, a squid with Alzheimer's, and an emo kid. There are exceptions (say, writing on multiple personality disorder) but quality articles usually follow this rule. Even AAAAAAAAA! which lacks sentences, rudiments of grammar, words, and 25 of the 26 letters of the alphabet, follows this rule.
  • State the Obvious- This rule can sometimes be hilarious, especially when the reader isn't expecting it. Other times, it can just leave them with a soiled feeling when the joke falls flat. A good example is a picture of a gay rights protestor holding up a sign that says "Homosexuals are Gay". See? You wouldn't expect to see that. Use it sparingly; an entire article of obvious statements will just come across as kind of stupid.
  • Did I mention Repetition?

When Writing Nonsense, be Consistent

  • If you can't stay close to the truth, try to be consistent across many articles. A good example is the Oprah conspiracy series. Despite the fact that it is entirely incoherent, it's incoherent across a large span of history. This is Good.
    Be sure your string of barely coherent prose does in fact contain at least one(1) degree of celsius between each serving — or 1/6 of a "Kevin Bacon."
Even Dante would have struggled at first on Uncyclopedia.
  • Be sure to check existing articles. Nothing is worse than writing a brilliantly clever piece only to find that the person or object in question is portrayed completely differently on numerous other pages. Research for a moment before adding. Of course, this inconsistency might stand on its own, but it's good to know that you're not plotzing up any large "sagas".
  • This is Uncyclopedia, not Wikipedia. We're not writing "the Truth" (or "Neutral Point of View") here, so the important thing is whether a given individual article is entertaining/interesting in its own right, on a stand-alone, individual basis. In fact, it can be great to have, across different articles within a topic area, a different viewpoint in each article. It keeps the creative juices going for the introduction of fresh ideas and a variety of perspectives and approaches. As well, what's entertaining can vary from reader to reader. Maybe a reader who wouldn't find the first viewpoint on a topic area as expressed in Article 1 funny might find the second or subsequent viewpoints on that topic area in Articles 2, 3, etc. funny. Also, if you try to keep to one storyline across articles just for the sake of consistency, there's the possibility that some of the various linking articles in the series may become boring, unfunny articles that aren't interesting on an individual-article basis; instead of the linking articles, consider giving these details within the main article itself.
  • Try to avoid writing over or spoiling any particular article that is otherwise a good article. If you're thinking of editing that particular article, try to be consistent in content and style with the existing content in that particular article. Otherwise, the article will begin to look like a messy, random, unfunny hodgepodge (although hodgepodges can be nice, in special cases). Thus, if you have a different viewpoint or different style from that already expressed in that particular article, you should move on and find a compatible article with your viewpoint or style or else start a new article (it's easy to do), rather than writing over or adding inconsistent content.

Spend a Little Bit of Time

Spend some time relaxing in your pants, with a beer and a smoke. Perhaps what you think is comic gold could do with another edit.
  • If you spent ten seconds writing it, perhaps ten people will like it. If you spent ten minutes, you might have hundreds. Even though we're full of lies and bullshit, the amount of work necessary to write a funny article may be on par with Wikipedia. The quality of our articles varies, but as a parody, it doesn't mean our quality standard should drop, just that our content is different.
  • Moreover, simple, unadorned lists are rarely funny. You know the type: "List of people who can't spell" or "List of stupid things." Sometimes simple lists can be useful in launching a broader idea, as in US Presidents, but trying to be funny by listing "people who Oscar Wilde hates" isn't, well, funny. Or useful. If you must make a list, don't make it a quickie; at least spend some time fleshing it out, like in Worst 100 Movies of All Time. Finally, make sure that most of the article's content is not a list unless "List" is in the title. A ratio of about 95% content to 5% list might be acceptable.
  • Research. A good chunk of stuff on here is random, and random can be funny. But the truly great articles require a bit of research. In order to effectively parody or satirize a subject, do some research on the real thing first, and your jokes will be better and actually make sense.
  • Delete, delete, delete. More writing is more funny, right? Not necessarily. There's a reason why it's possible to make a living as an editor, a person whose job is mainly to delete prose and throw manuscripts in the trash: most writing is bad. Good writers understand this, and spend as much time mercilessly hacking their work apart as they do creating it in the first place, even throwing away completed novels to start from scratch. The ability to look at your own work, ask, "does this suck?" and answer honestly is one of the major differences between the pros and amateurs. Writing is as much about destruction as creation, so spend at least as much time editing as writing. Another way to think about it: writing is like cooking, it's as much about what you leave out as what you put in. When cooking a soup, you do everything possible not to put crap into it, shouldn't you do the same when you write?
  • Revise, revise, revise. Maybe you misspelled a word, perhaps you thought of a clever joke, or a Photoshopped jpg to ice that cake. To create a really polished piece of work, you have to revisit it and smooth off all the imperfections. True, some people can hammer out a perfect first draft, but most people can't. Even Shakespeare devoted time to revising and polishing his plays.

The "@#$%^&*" Rule: Being Crass or Tasteless Doesn't Automatically Make Everything Funny

'Did you just make a joke we hadn't heard of before?' Uncyclopedia's rollbackers are there to check on edits.
  • There's no reason to swear like a US Marine Drill Instructor or make tasteless references every other sentence. In many lame formula jokes, crassness and/or profanity are/is the "punchline." It's usually not funny, especially if you're hung over the next day and looking over your article. Only in very few, very rare situations is crassness what makes a funny joke funny (like 'fucking Johnny Borrell', because he acts like that. The rest of the article is pretty dire though). Please don't use it as your primary source of humor. This includes those regurgitated dead baby jokes, as well as jokes about regurgitated, dead babies. Come up with something original, or at least put it in an original manner, rather than rely on shock factor as a fucking crutch.
  • Not everyone likes scatological, or "toilet" humor. In fact, many people simply find it immature and disgusting, and may not only start avoiding your articles, but Uncyclopedia as a whole. Just because you find the thought of defecation and farting hilarious doesn't mean that others do.
  • Not everyone likes obscene, or explicit humor. In fact, some people may find it annoying, and may not only start avoiding your articles, but Uncyclopedia as a whole. Just because you find explicit refernces to anatomy hilarious doesn't mean that others do. Try to use humor which actually relates to the topic of the article, not humor which is meant to shock simply through its explicitness and utter unrelatedness to the topic.
  • Gay jokes. As of the time of this writing, there are more hits for the term 'gay' on Uncyclopedia than for the term 'the'. Adding the word 'gay' or a reference to gay parents for every person under the sun doesn't make the article funny - it makes it sound like it was written by a grade schooler. Again, come up with something original.

Avoid Clichés (most of the time)

Avoid clichés. Let someone else do the washing up.
  • Many uninventive definitions follow overused formulas. These include:
  • the term ...was invented by...
  • the term ...Is a Rock band...
  • the term ...was president of...
  • Infinite loop pages. We have a category full of these, please, no more.
  • Articles consisting solely of "See (article)" (If you need to, put on the page: #REDIRECT[[Page name here]]).
  • Saying the exact opposite of reality.
  • This person...did something...a period of time...after his death. Just stupid, not funny.
  • Using a film or television quote with little or no context. This especially goes for the "Did you know...?" section.
  • Referencing an extra-dimension for no reason. For example: "is traditionally used to slide through the 4th dimension". Just not funny and used all the time.
  • Of course there are times when there is a good legitimate reason for using such formulas but are quite often used as a quick lazy definition when you can think up a good one.
  • Example: The Mongoose was invented by Oprah in 1378 B.C
Not Funny.
  • Example: George W. Bush is a highly liberal communist dedicated to gay rights
Not Funny. Better than above, but still.
  • Example: Creationism is the idea that God was so bored out of His mind that He spent 6 days creating everything on our planet, and for good measure put in several jokes to fool us into believing it must have taken Him much longer.
Funny! Why? It's not a throwaway, plus it gives us a reason to laugh. That crazy God.
  • In the 'Did you know' section, avoid using the words 'I', 'me', or 'my'.
  • If a joke immediately pops into your head after three seconds' worth of pondering, assume it will occur to many, many people as well, and a large fraction of them will probably make it in other pages. Result: unfunny repetition.
  • In particular: dear god, please lay off the Star Wars jokes, and saying so-and-so is a Sith, and such-and-such did whatever with Chewbacca.
  • Extremely large numbers. (like 2193732483249 or 9999999999999) should be generally avoided. Sometimes a smaller, but round number can be funnier. This includes assertions that more than 100% of a population is something or other: please exaggerate in more clever ways than simply using a statistic that can't be true.
  • Ridiculous dates simply serve to confuse the reader; they don't make your article funny. Remember: you want the reader to actually read your article, not just look at it, decide that it is nonsense or incoherent, and leave. Unless your article is about time travel, you're not going to make someone laugh by choosing ridiculous dates; you'll just make them stop reading.
  • Celebrities: Really now, did celebrities do everything? If you feel the need to insert a famous person into an unrelated article, make it one that is applicable to the topic - for example, saying "Eminem was the daughter of Pat Sajak and Mickey Mouse" is pointless drivel; however, "Eminem is the son of Dr. Dre and Queen Latifa" is much better, as while Eminem is obviously not their child, it parodies his adoption of black culture. Always remember to have a specific point for your words; if you don't have a point (except to write randomness), the reader's not going to see one, and they're going to tune your article out.
  • Obscure origins: How many articles have a "history" header that begins with "Nobody really knows where whateveritis came from"? Probably a lot, I'd guess. It takes time and creativity to invent a humorous origin for your topic, but it's worth it to avoid this cliché.

Avoid Stagnant Jokes

"Stagnant" is like the inside of your refrigerator after the power has been out for a couple days. Stagnant things aren't automatically unfunny like the clichés discussed in the previous section; they have become unfunny just by being repeated to death.

Stagnant jokes that interfere with the operation of Uncyclopedia may get you banned. These include redirecting featured pages and blanking of any page.

Lesser classes of stagnant jokes will just go away. It's an argument over taste that you are going to lose, unless you have an obvious good reason or a very clever writing style.

Pop culture. Tedious pop culture references are stale, including:

  • Anything to do with Snakes on a Plane, or 300, or 300 snakes on a plane.
  • Emo, Vin Diesel, Leeroy Jenkins, Killing Kenny (or Ran Cossack) jokes.
  • Everything that has ever appeared on your chat browser in the last 24 months, or sites such as the Chans, Something Awful, eBaum's World, YTMND, College Humor, VG Cats, Ctrl+Alt+Del, Penny Arcade, or pretty much any other webcomic or web cartoon in existence. Especially Homestar Runner.
  • Stating that your secret animated or furry hero (Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob, Barney, etc.) is evil.
  • Runescape jokes about thirty forty-somethings living in their parents' basement.
  • Anything "over 9000".
Never ever talk about this guy's habit of roundhouse kicking people, places and things or else, well...

Memes. Weaving a lot of Uncyclopedia memes into an article is not a substitute for being funny, and few people will think it's funny. Examples of memes are:

The difference between a logical list (sort of) and a random list

Stagnant Themes. Once you have chosen an article to write, its theme means how you will treat the subject of the article, what the point is that you want the article to make. There are some themes that have become stagnant by being tried too often. Again, unless there is a good reason or you apply unusual cleverness, avoid the following themes:

  • That a female you are writing about is a slut or a whore.
  • That a state or region you are writing about is a Soviet republic.
  • That the subject you are writing about is involved in a struggle between God and Satan.
  • Vulgar or obscene treatment, notably getting raped, notably anal rape, etc.
  • Anything to do with ninjas or pirates.
  • Articles about how an unnotable town sucks and/or is full of chavs. If somebody on the other side of the globe has probably not heard of the town, don't bother writing a whiny article about it.
  • An intentionally bad article. If an article is bad it's bad.
  • An obscure band that few people know about at the other side of the world.
  • Anything to do with a certain former president with the last name of Bush.

Stagnant Articles. There are entire classes of article that have been tried so many times that they are stagnant. Don't even start on an article about any of the following:

  • A made-up sequel of a popular movie or video game--the way you would have written it. For example, your new take on World of Warcraft or the Mario Brothers.
  • A new pokémon.
  • A new text adventure.
  • A new war. Especially one that involves uncyclopedia and wikipedia, Star Wars, Star Trek, Hitler, communists, or one that involves animals such as Badgers and mongooses.
  • A new worst 100 list, except for the current year.(Current year worst 100's are used to lampoon Uncyclopedia news and real world news that we are sick of hearing about.)
  • An article about a food created by some bastard company.
  • Anything that does not exist (e.g. This page does not exist). A lot of them had been QVFD' and are in the Protected titles list. If you attempt to make anything like this we may block you because it is just pure stupid and spammy.

Don't plagiarise

Simply don't. You will be banned.

Meta-Humor isn't always as funny as you think it is

While we love to poke fun at ourselves and make light of some of the more rampant phenomena on this site, not every event, person, or trend on this site is worth documenting. This extends to creepy articles about users, references to otherwise insignificant and unhumorous events, and attempts to generate "trends" within The Uncyclopedia. There are few times that general phenomena are worth their own article and are limited to large-scale phenomena, such as Making Up Oscar Wilde Quotes. Furthermore, these articles must be well executed, lest they completely destroy its original humor. Think of it this way: Meta-humor is like fine, aged wine, it must not only have been around for a long time, but also has to have intrinsic value in order for it to be any good. Century-old bad wine is one hundred years old, but it's still bad metaphor wine.

Use In-Jokes Sparingly

  • Just 'cause it's funny to you and three of your friends doesn't make it funny to us. Most in-jokes are "had to be there" moments, or rely on several other situations/experiences to understand exactly what makes it funny. They're hard to explain, and fail to be humorous in a stand-alone situation. This does not apply, however, to Uncyclopedia in-jokes. Since you are writing articles for the Uncyclopedia, it's perfectly acceptable to use Officially Established Uncyclopedia-Originated In-Jokes. It adds personality to the site, and distinguishes it from other wannabe parody wikis.

Another exception are "specific jokes". For example, the Call of Duty article is full of jokes that only those who have played one or more of the Call of Duty games can truly appreciate. This is totally fine, so long as these sorts of jokes don't spread too far from their domain of interest.

  • Further note: Do not try to establish a foothold for your pre-existing in-joke here. Unless it's a true diaphragm-cramper, it's not worth your time (as it will likely get deleted) or ours (we could huff 20 kittens in the time it takes to delete your cruft.)
  • And while we're here, don't be vain. Articles written about your fanfic, or your story characters, or your goddamn story setting, WILL be deleted as a rule. So will articles about how much your school sucks, or how your town is a pisshole, or what an idiot your friend is. This is not your personal backstory site- create your own damn wiki if you want to list the ancient history behind your character's armor's codpiece or whatever. If you are going to make an article about something of your own, that is if you have a BURNING, UNQUENCHABLE DESIRE to do so (this is not everyone), do a good job on it. Make it fit in here- if something seems out of place it's goin' bye-bye. A prime example of how to make your vanity work is Camp Fuck You Die.
As a general rule, this is how not to retouch a picture

Use Pictures Wisely

  • A picture is a perfect complement to a good joke. But only if it is well made. Chopping up a picture of Tony Blair's face in MS Paint is not well made (unless you're making the picture look bad for a satirical purpose). Taking time on the picture and using a professional program such as the GIMP or Photoshop to make it is advisable, although some of you will be able to knock up decent images on Paint. Most importantly, don't use an old picture that you found on the internet, no matter how sure you are that no-one else will have seen it, use your own imagination to produce something better.
  • Don't think that a 'chopped picture is absolutely necessary. Take a normal picture that otherwise would have no comedy value, put it into the context of your article, and add a funny caption, and suddenly your boring picture is hilarious.

Bias Is Not a Replacement for Humor

  • Never substitute bias in place of humor. While biases and points of view are allowed, often to the extent of encouragement, on Uncyclopedia, simply writing something like "The Big Mac is a piece of dog shit on two buns" or "Man United are considered by everyone to be the best athletes in the history of mankind" is not funny by itself. Instead, explain, in lavish detail, what makes these things so great or terrible. Remember, you aren't the only person on this planet. Try to keep your stuff funny, but not insulting.
  • Also note that that when an admin deletes overt, explicit bias, he or she does not necessarily disagree with you on that subject. It is rarely personal. He or she is responsible for keeping additions streamlined and in the spirit of the rest of the article, as well as the Uncyclopedia.
  • Not everyone on the planet is male. Given that approximately one-third of Uncyclopedia readers are female, it can be a risk to write as though the reader is a male. This may seem like such an obvious point, and yet it is frequently overlooked. Even if it doesn't necessarily alienate female readers, chances are they still will not find it funny, so don't do it without an actual conceptual reason. Likewise, jokes about women needing to be in the kitchen or about how all a woman is supposed to do is make sandwiches is not only idiotic, but it's pathetic.

Outright sarcasm is Not a Replacement for Humor

(This is an adjunct to Bias and Opposites.)
  • Clearly stating what is either right or obvious in a sarcastic manner comes off less as funny, and more as politically resentful or bitter. Take, for example
  • Example: America had some goodwill in the world. Who would want that? After all, you can’t take goodwill to the bank. (Or can you?)
Bad. Sounds more like someone is annoyed with foreign policy and is letting it out here. It has all the subtlety of an amped marching band, and seeks to hammer the point in sarcastically, rather than ease it in with humor. Such text is overtly political and serves no purpose than to vindicate one side and irritate the other, seeming as if the author is upset or otherwise disenfranchised. It's blunt and relatively humorless, and while editorializing can be funny, this passage only ends up killing the humor of the rest of the article.
  • Example: The Crusades were a series of military campaigns first initated in the 11th through 13th centuries by King George I of Texas, (the burning Bush of Moses fame) and continued by his heir George II. Intended to subjugate the Muslim people of the Middle East and brand the holy mark of W upon their foreheads, it also allowed America to cast aside any concern it had for goodwill and credibility and march Don Quixote-like into Baghdad with trumpets blaring and red, white and blue flags flying. God bless America!
Good. Why? Because it's certainly more lighthearted, and definitely more subtle. It's not explicitly political or sarcastic, qualifying more as satire. While not laugh-a-minute, it certainly doesn't sound like someone's angry or frustrated. This seems like it was typed by Someone Who Was Trying To Be Silly. It also sounds more official and professional, and it's closer to truth without actually being truth.
  • Basically, blunt, straight sarcasm is not humorous, especially when other people do it better as satire.

In The Style Of...

For some articles, doing the article in the style of what the article is about can be amusing. For example, the article on Nihilism is blank. The article on Redundancy is redundant, repetitive, and repeats itself, and frankly, the less said about Sexual innuendo, the better. Other good examples include Braille, Zork, Nethack, Zen, Misleading, Random Insanity, Subtilty, Redirection, J.D. Salinger, Pig Latin, Alliteration, Vladimir Nabokov, H. P. Lovecraft, James Joyce, Onomatopoeia, Binary, ROT13, e e cummings and many more.

Don't just rely on this alone, though, unless you are absolutely sure that the article can stand on its own by taking the style of the topic. NetHack and James Joyce are good examples of where it can stand on its own, because all throughout the article, it maintains the appropriate style (NetHack having the appearance of a game of NetHack, and James Joyce mimicking his manner of writing which can be incomprehensible to people unfamiliar with it). With J.D. Salinger, on the other hand, the article has to be supplied with more than just the speaking style of the main character of The Catcher in the Rye. As it has this, it is a very good article.

Other possible sources for humor

  • Status Change. Stephen Colbert has suggested that all good humor involves status change. For example: if you are walking down the street, and bump into the President of the United States and he apologizes to you profusely, gets flustered, then asks you for your autograph, that's funny.
  • Irony. Sometimes, a touch of irony is great for a twist in an article. For example, if a man walking down the street is hit by an ambulance and one of the paramedics jumps out and says "Oh God, oh God, I'm so sorry. Please, someone call 911, quick!" That can be a source for possible humor.


  • Remember rule one. If something is coherent, and closer to the truth, it is funnier than pure nonsense.
  • Often, official, professional-sounding prose kicks the humor up a bit. Consider your tone as you write articles. Would an authoritative, encyclopedic tone make this even better, or would slack-jawed drivel work best as its own sort of irony? Do outbursts work? Try different styles to see if it improves your content.
  • Speeling adn, gramor?: Unless you're misspelling words on purpose, as one would in order to poke fun at the mentally inferior, or the lack of typing prowess of kids on social networking sites, really, really try to make sure all your words are spelled correctly, and that all your grammar makes sense. Copy and paste your article into MS Word, if it helps, or send it to UN:PROOF. Aim abbreviations are also something to generally avoid.
  • Writing about Writing: Unfortunately, there is no Elements of Style for writing humor, and it would be difficult to write one, since humor often comes from breaking rules instead of following them. However, there is an Elements of Style for writing in general, which is called The Elements of Style. To the extent that knowing the craft of writing makes you a better humor writer, this book (sometimes just called "Strunk and White" after the authors) is worth picking up, reading, and then rereading, and then fusing to your cerebral cortex in a dangerous medical experiment of questionable ethics. George Orwell’s essay "Politics and the English Language” is also very useful; both are short and to the point.

Please help contribute to a funnier and wittier Uncyclopedia. Thank you for taking the time to read this guide.

See also