Using the unexpected is the most common and easiest way to create humor in a mechanical level (with words and sentences) as well as on a story level. Below are ten examples I have used in presentations on humor. Be aware, not every image/comic will be funny to you. Much of humor relies on context, background and style. However, these were all pieces that worked for me.
Note from previous entry on the unexpected:
Juxtapose two unlike words or say the exact opposite of what the reader expects, or misdirect to create a surprise. Do this by comparing two unlike things but add a twist, make a list and ensure the last one is a surprise, or use repetition of an idea or word but change it to something we didn’t see coming the last time.
I like this one because it shows two different ideas that I already like to make fun of: Fifty Shades of Grey and the concept of the writing being poor and grammar that is bad. Putting those two seperate but equal things together in a different context takes something familiar and makes it novel.
Okay, so maybe I like this just because it has the Colin Firth version of Mr. Darcy. For me it is unexpected to compare Mr. Darcy, the fantasy hero of any romance I imagine in my mind to be compared with eco vampires. Yet . . . it works.
Take this sentence apart. I’m socially awkward/in three languages. Either part on its own doesn’t lend itself to humor. However, those two unlike ideas put together make it odd and odd often equals funny. The other thing that works well is how the two ideas are seperated.
I like this because it’s clever. The use of words create a double meaning and that is what creates the surprise. For me, it is hard not to smile.
Here is another one that uses the element of surprise. The idea is opposite of what the reader expects.
Sure, I like this because the Beatles and Star Trek is familiar. It is also clever because of the malapropism used. The two unlike things put together in a novel way are what makes it funny for me.
This one is cute and something we can relate to (a parent having that talk with a kid) but presented in a new and unexpected way. It is not what I would imagine to match up with that picture either.
I think this works because each definition is familiar, but not predictable.
This tells a story. The first bit that is unexpected is #8, but there is repetition of the same theme that flows through with #10, #11, #14, #15. I love it. Of course, if I think too much about it, it is pretty sad.
Okay, here’s the wierd thing about this one. It is sort of predictable and expected. We look at that picture and that sort of is what comes to my mind. Still, it is unexpected that someone says it. At least for me.