From the Coen Brothers’ movie Fargo:
“The little guy was kinda funny-lookin’.”
“In what way?”
“I don’t know. Just funny-lookin’.”
“Can you be any more specific?”
Another passage that rocks (Help me; I can’t stop):
“There are precious few activities that grown men should do while naked. Showering. Swimming when no one else is around. Sex, whether someone else is around or not. And anything that takes place in front of blind people. Beyond that, all unclothed activities should be filed under the heading of “Dear Lord, If He Bends Over One More Time I’m Going To Hang Myself.” (From the novel Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel)
In my opinion, the comic farce Lunatics is a wonderful exercise in how to write humor, from beginning to end. There’s nothing subtle about its approach, however. The characters, their voices, and the plot are all outrageous—and hilarious.
I love T.C. Boyle’s writing. He can take a simple concept and run with it, taking you places you didn’t know existed. The below excerpt is from his first novel:
I’ve always been a quitter. I quit the Boy Scouts, the glee club, the marching band. Gave up my paper route, turned my back on the church, stuffed the basketball team. I dropped out of college, sidestepped the army with a 4-F on the grounds of mental instability, went back to school, made a go of it, entered a Ph.D. program in nineteenth-century British literature, sat in the front row, took notes assiduously, bought a pair of horn-rims, and quit on the eve of my comprehensive exams. I got married, separated, divorced. Quit smoking, quit jogging, quit eating red meat. I quit jobs: digging graves, pumping gas, selling insurance, showing pornographic films in an art theater in Boston. When I was nineteen I made frantic love to a pinch-faced, sack-bosomed girl I’d known from high school. She got pregnant. I quit town. (from Budding Prospects by T.C. Boyle)
Boyle opens his first-novel Budding Prospects in the first person with a lecture on quitting, giving us a window into the story’s main character. Specific references, such as to mental instability, horn-rim glasses, digging graves and so on, help sell us on the narrator, whether we think at this point in the story he’s a jerk or not.