I am sarcastic. I love humor, but sometimes it can be a nuisance. Allow me to explain.
One main thing that I hate a little bit about certain authors and writers of films is the lack of comedic timing. By this I unobviously mean the insensitivity to put a joke in a serious moment. Being a sarcastic brat, I am guilty of this myself. Nearly all writers believe they can pull off a joke successfully in a serious or tense situation, despite the fact that only a select few writers can. I don’t mean to say that I have all the answers, but here are some basic guidelines on how to successfully crack a joke during an intense scene without annoying me (If you absolutely must).
Don’t poke fun at what’s happening. It’s quite simple, really. If someone just died, don’t make a joke about how dead character in question still has unfulfilled goals. And especially not if the character is meant to be a loved friend. If you do so, you will cut short the slightly dramatic, yet definitely warranted feelings usually evoked with a character’s death, but you’ll also seem to hate the character. By seeming to hate your own character you will cause the reader or watcher to either hate the character as well, or find you mean and arrogant.
For a sad or infuriating twist, Make a bitter or slightly unrelated joke. If you make a joke that reveals the irony, you will appear to be as bitter about the event as the cast of the book or film and the reader and watcher.
Discourage jokes made by the characters. If you have a great joke you about the serious or tense moment that you need to get out, the best way to get your joke onto paper (or into your lap top), while not being mistaken (or rightfully judged) as an emotionless, stone-faced, cynical overlord of a writer is to have a character make the joke. That is not all, though. You must have a serious character present to shush the joking character and shake her or his finger at that wise-cracking disrespectful lunatic. This will make you seem to agree with the serious character, whether you do or you don’t.
However, if you are on the side of the joking character, I must say, “How can you make a joke at a time like this? Don’t you even care?”
Well, there you have it. The solution to my ultimate pet peeve in books and movies (and TV, come to think of it). But before I close, I would like to say that humor is sometimes the only thing to lighten a particularly depressing scene. I am not totally biased against humor in intense scenes, only partially so. The important thing is to put a reasonable amount of thought into your use of humor. Impulsive humor is the only thing more annoying than ill-timed humor.
Note: See the comments.