Okay, I've spent like twenty minutes on Google (and when I say "twenty", I mean "two") trying to find out who originally said that, but opinions seem to vary.
So...somebody famous said that, and they were basically right. I mean, I assume so, having never died before. Maybe death is like a really big pop quiz. On current events. And math. I hope it's not on math. I'm not good at math.
But the problem with comedy is, if it's good, it seems easy. People laugh easily, they smile easily. A good joke makes people feel better than anything else (okay, almost anything else. I'm one of those writers Anton mentioned yesterday, where romance bleeds into urban fantasy, because there's boinking. But not funny boinking. Sex-ay boinking. Oh, yes.) But a good joke lasts longer.
We meet people all the time who make us laugh, who are naturally funny. (But maybe they're crying on the inside. Bet you never thought of that, did you?) And we love them for it.
But that doesn't mean we automatically respect them for it. See, people who make us laugh don't take things seriously. And life, as we all know, is supposed to be taken seriously.
Just like fantasy. Because fantasy books are about Majestic Quests and the Battle Between Good and Evil and Perilous Times and Saving The Universe and Important Stuff Like That. We're atalking about big issues, when we talk about fantasy, because let's be honest. If the entire book was about, say, the Battle Between Good and Grumpy, and all that was at stake was one person getting a donut as opposed to a danish and they like both equally but are more in a donut mood that morning, you know, then it really wouldn't be much worth reading.
And it's easy to misstep when you're mixing comedy with drama. It's hard to make people laugh when there's blood everywhere and people have died. (Especially if the knife is still in your hand. Why, I remember one time--OOPS! Never mind. Ha! Ha! Just kidding! See, I joke. That's what I do. I don't slice people up, not ever!)
But see, I just made a joke. Or a few of them. Hopefully you laughed (or at least smiled), but maybe you didn't. And if you didn't, you probably think I stink as a funny writer. It's much easier to forgive someone a sour dramatic note, or a bad line in a book, when it's a Serious Work. But a few jokes fall flat...and you're probably putting the book down.
So I'm resorting to bribes to get you to stick around and see if I can hit your funnybone again (okay, not literally, because that seriously freaking HURTS. I guess comedy is pain. Sigh.)
I know Anton is giving away an ARC of his book, Dead To Me, as a prize to those who pimp us around teh internets. I don't have an ARC, but I do have a prize! A fabulous prize!
It's a magnet! Ooooh.
What does it say? "The Yezer made me do it." What does it mean? The Yezer Ha-Ra is the Hebrew name for that inclination in all of us to do evil, to hate ourselves, to succumb to our desire to sin and create new sins, to give up on life, to dwell on bad memories, etc. In other words, the Yezer Ha-Ra is the Hebrew name for our personal demons.
So don't forget to pimp us out, and be the first to get a magnet! Trust me. As David Ogden Stiers said in Better off Dead, "Everyone's going to have one of these."
Come on...over to the dark side...