How Not To Write Humor

A guide from an expert in flopped humor.

Adelina Vasile
12 min readFeb 8, 2022


Two sad clowns, dressed in black and white, with a red planet Earth and stars in the background.

Asking a successful humorist how not to write humor is like asking a carnivore to introduce you to veganism or a French to teach you English.

Learn how not to write humor from an expert in flopped humor.

I would be that expert, and now that I have established authority, there's only one confusion I want to avoid.

(I hear deliberate confusion is a humor tool, which I can't have in my non-humor guide.)

So, the disclaimer: as an established author of humor pieces that flop, I can teach you how not to write humor. This doesn't mean my guide will turn you into a technical writer expert, despite technical writing being the least humorous type of writing out there.

Now, let the not-funny part begin — actually, continue.

How to assess your potential

A funny guy walks into a bar, and everyone starts laughing. If you're not that guy, keep reading.

When a not-funny guy walks into a bar, either nobody is laughing, or he's the only one laughing. Also, everyone might start drinking, a deceiving talent indicator while in a bar.

If any of it happened to you, you have the potential not to write humor. If nothing similar happened to you, congratulations! You have even more potential.

All not-funny aspiring writers get such clues, but the best don't notice them. They go on writing a not-humor piece. And only when the crickets start jumping like crazy on their stats page the reality becomes impossible to ignore.

Close-up photo of a clown’s face.

Learn from an expert's personal experience

As the authority I am, I've been through all that and then some more. Or first, some more.

Before trying my hand at flopped-humor stories, I did micro-exercises with flopped-humor comments and private notes.

One private note I got from a humorist actually scared the bejesus out of me because it confessed a crime, but I…



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself. Check my Substack here >>