Running Gags · 24 April 2021

I may or may not have written about running gags before, but I am going to write about some of mine now.

If you read my blog post about thinking it strange that people read my writing, you came across the following parenthetical paragraph:

(By the way, if you have not been reading my blog for very long, you might not recognize the running gag. I have talked about real and imaginary readers since almost the beginning of my blog. So when I mention readers, I keep the running gag going. I suppose that is because I like running gags. Even if they are just inside jokes. Even if they are not so funny. I suppose I continue to do them because they tickle me. Even if everybody else just rolls their eyes when I do them. But that is another story. (Which is also a running gag.))

In it, I mention or use three of my favorite running gags. Or maybe not favorite, but certainly most used.

The first running gag that I started almost from the beginning came about because I knew that I really only had a few readers. So whenever I mentioned readers, I threw the parenthetical note: (real or imaginary). It stuck. One of my friends even noted that I certainly had more imaginary readers than real ones. Probably by a large margin. It was probably his encouragement that has kept me foisting that first running gag on my readers (both real and imaginary).

The second running gag I used in the parenthetical paragraph is my reference to another story. I have often used the phrase, “But that is another story,” in my blog posts. And sometimes I even have another story. If I had stayed true to my thought I had many moons ago, I would have linked all my dead end “But that is another story” comments to a certain blog post explaining the other story. But alas, I am not that clever or dedicated to that other story. Which is, of course, quite another story.

The third running gag in that parenthetical paragraph is more subtle. But it is obvious to me (and maybe a few of my readers (both real and imaginary)). The parenthetical paragraph is in and of itself one of my running gags. As is the parenthetical thought inside the parenthetical paragraph. (Actually, parentheticals are probably more correctly categorized as a writing device that I like to use, but I will still call it a running gag.) I am not sure when I started doing it, but I use those parenthetical paragraphs like playwrights use asides. I want to tell my readers (both real and imaginary) that I am going off topic and giving some explanation just to them. Usually those new to reading my blog.

(By the way, if you are new to reading my blog, I hope that you become a regular reader. I hope you stick around beyond this rather odd post.)

To make a short story a little longer, there are many other writing techniques that I tend to overuse. But I thought I might explain a few of my running gags. After all, I use them enough that those who only occasionally read my blog or those who just happened to read by accident might not understand them. Or at least might not understand that they are running gags.

I hope that explaining the running gags does not diminish them like having to explain a joke to somebody. But then again, people always laugh at me when they need to explain a simple joke that I did not get. But that is quite another story.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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