I feel that there is a tremendous difference in what an audience in real life will accept vs. a reader, or, more specifically, most editors of most publications.
On the plus side in written humor you can get away with deeper cut references, more literary flare, and, frankly, softer jokes.
Because standup is a brutal, hard-hitting form. In prose humor, a chuckle can work.
Standup chews up chuckles and spits them out as weak crunchy stuff. Like a soft granola bar of mediocrity.
However, on the negative side, prose humor has to be a bit more refined than standup does. Refined as in subject matter and tastefulness, not in terms of comedy, necessarily.
For instance, let us use as an example my newest humor piece (this is secretly shameless self-promotion, sorry):
If you open that link and peruse it you might note a few things. 1) It’s on Medium, which means I self-published it, which means no one else liked it enough to publish it for me. 2) It’s filthy as fuck.
Blue, in fact. That’s the phrase used in standup circles: working blue, blue comedy. A piece like that wouldn’t work as is in standup. Not for me. It’s too conceptual and I’m more of a one-linerish type.
I just don’t have the confidence to pull it off.
Yet something like that can work. You can get away with being very dirty in standup if you’re funny enough and not in the wrong room, i.e. church conference or coffeeshop filled with preteens. [The former for the evolution, the latter for the sex. Not that the former would be too fond of that part, either.]
But in prose, it’s hard to find a place willing to take something like that. I didn’t even try that many because I read them (you could too, by checking out my handy dandy humor markets listing) [even more links!!!] and I know, more or less, what they’re after.
So I self-published it. Because I do think it’s funny. And I’m desperate for validation (see Everything Else I Do).
And, yeah, it is pretty dirty. It’s so dirty I’m not even gonna share it on Facebook. And that is why you never accept a friend request from your grandmother.
You just let it linger in the request que until she passes away and then you add her real quick so you can tag her in a really sad post and get a bunch of sympathy likes.
Likes are like insulin shots for diabetic assholes. I am not watching my diet.