Hey cHEwY gum gums
Happy International Burger Day!
This weekend, I’ll be driving down to Canberra for the national Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) conference. It’ll be the first time I’ll be featured in the program, which is fabtastic because the tagline is ‘Now they’re laughing’ and the theme is humour.
It’s cool to be tagged as one of the funny guys. When I tell people I’m a comedian, they always ask me to tell them a joke on the spot, which is kinda annoying but I take it on with pride haha. I love being a funny author. When I’m in libraries which sort out their books by genre, my books are in the humour section with a smiley face sticker. Alice Pung once described me as the Asian Paul Jennings. but I was aiming more for the Asian Andy Griffiths. That was my MO for Thai-riffic!, to be as anarchic and frantic as Andy Griffiths Just series. Lengy was my alter-ego that was cynical and snappy. I wrote some of the most snappiest and irrelevant jokes ever. These short stories contained some of my biggest punchlines and zingers.
Since then, I have never written a book as funny as that.
Sure, there was the sequel Thai-no-mite which came out 2 years later, but my other books haven’t followed that zany path.
I mean, they’re still funny books.
They’re just a different kind of funny.
There are many levels of funny on the humour spectrum. Just like there are many types of comedy on TV and movies, books are no different. You can read gross-out humour fun like J.A Mawter’s So Gross series. You can dive into wacky and surreal adventures like The TreeHouse series or the Real Pigeons Fight Crime books. Or if you like satire then R.A Spratt’s Nanny Piggins may be your cup of tea. Lately, I’ve been swept away by the whimsical tongue-in-cheek humour of A.F Harrold’s books.
That’s what I love about this genre. It’s broad, and it means that anyone can be a funny author if they tap into a character’s head. Take picture books for example, the levels of humour have a much more range. You can go for clever wordplay like Mopoke, or you can even poke fun of at the book form itself with stories like This is not a Ball or The Book Chook.
My recent books have been inspired by my other favourite funny author, Morris Gleitzman. As a kid, I loved his earlier books like Two Weeks with the Queen and Blabber Mouth. I’ve always been a fan of his storytelling style, but I never thought that I would end up writing like him. Con-nerd came out after Thai-riffic! and it was praised for its heart. Since then, my stories are much more character-driven. I’m no longer writing jokes just for the sake of it, I’m weaving jokes into a character’s journey.
I love reading funny books because they inspire me to find my own path of humour. Who knows, I may go back to writing something loose and crazy like Thai-riffic! but even when you shed away the jokes, Lengy’s journey is still full of heart. So yeah, I’m still a funny author…but I’m not one of those comedians who can tell you a joke straight away to make you laugh on the spot. But if you have the time, I can tell you a few stories about some weird, unusual characters who want to be heard…and you’ll laugh along the way (promise haha)
Stay tuned next week for my recap for the CBCA national conference 🙂