Funny - or not?

Humour is a difficult thing. We've all sat through the cringingly embarrassing Best Man's speech; the long, complicated joke recounted by our boss, that isn't funny when we get to the punchline; the borderline offensive story told by our elderly uncle ... ouch!

And yet, humour done well is an absolute delight. Humorous fiction is one of the toughest acts to pull off. The writer needs a light touch, but a tough judgement. He or she must never indulge their own preferences at the expense of their audience and have to always judge the timing perfectly; hard enough for a stand-up comic but almost impossible when writing for publication.

I've just been reading slush for a humour contest. Let's just say that well over 99% of the writers didn't make the 'funny' grade in my opinion. But the slightly less than 1% who got it right, have made me laugh so much in the past two days that my smile muscles ache with the exercise.

One of them will win. But I think I'm the overall winner this time - what a job, to laugh for a living!