I would have to conclude it’s all of the above.
We know humour differs from person to person. Therefore, comedy must also differ from one author to another, conveyed through our unique writer’s voices.
I think this might be a prominent factor.
Authors who write good humour awe me. I often wonder how they do it. I imagine them to be the life of the party, the type of person who tells a story or joke and have people rolling around holding their sides.
I am nothing like that. I think I’m the worst at telling jokes. I’m certain to mess up the punch line of any joke. Or tell it at the beginning of the joke and say, “No, wait, it’s supposed to be…” A sentence guaranteed to ruin any funny story and turn me into the butt of the joke.
Needless to say, I stopped telling jokes long ago! Though I’ve felt reassured over the years that I may have some comic value. I seem to have the ability to make people laugh on occasion. Generally it’s my husband and kids and usually it’s when I’m mad that they find me funniest.
Something occurred to me lately. I do write humour! I really do. I once read an article by Shirley Jump, who said our books don’t have to be a laugh a page (I honesty thought they did). She also said something that has stayed with me: It’s even better if we can make our readers laugh and cry within our word count.
Now, that I can do!