Write a Eulogy With Humor
How do you incorporate humor when you write a eulogy? It certainly is not by starting out with a joke about your loved one having a conversation with St Peter at the pearly gates. However at the appropriate spot in the eulogy you might say something that relates to your loved one in that context.
For instance “I can just see my mother now, telling St Peter as she arrives at the gates of heaven ‘stand up straight. That posture is not good for you’. She never let us slouch or anyone she came in contact with. My mother was a physical education teacher and one of her personal goals in life was to make sure that everyone she met would go on to have a straight spine and good posture.”
You can also ask relatives for interesting or humorous stories from the deceased’s life to help you write the eulogy.
A humorous story is one that describes a situation or event that happened in which the listener can relate and it will bring a smile to the listener’s lips. It does not have to be rib-slapping funny. As a matter of fact comedy is different than simple humor and doesn’t usually have a place when you write a eulogy. When you want to add humor to a eulogy you want to bring in events and situations or characteristics that were a part of the person’s life and character. You aren’t trying to be a comedian – you are only reminding people about a life.
These stories give details of the character of person and also allow for some of the strong emotion that people are feeling at this time to erupt through laughter.
John Cleese (from Monty Python’s Flying Circus) is a master at making people laugh and he did not betray that talent when he was asked to write a eulogy to honor his partner, Graham Chapman. He used his humor to shock and then lead the mourners into laughter. It was a strong statement about who Graham was in their lives. Most of us, however, do not live that kind of life. We live simpler, subtler lives. And our humor will also be subtler.
Good humor comes out of good story telling. Use the stories when you write a eulogy that give tribute to the deceased and allow the goodness and humor of the situations to be told.
Ted told this story about his aunt Mildred who was a widow for many years of her adult life. Mildred did not have much income but was very good at finding ways to make ends meet. He did not say that she was eccentric but that she did have an interesting way of dealing with life that was different than many people he knew. The nieces and nephews would help out Aunt Mildred whenever they could. One year, Ted’s family had a bumper crop of potatoes and decided that they would give Aunt Mildred enough potatoes to last her the winter. She was very appreciative and the family breathed a sigh of relief knowing they had helped her out. Several weeks later Jack, another family member, told them that Aunt Mildred must be into farming now. Apparently Jack had driven by Mildred’s home and there in the front yard was a sign “Fresh Potatoes For Sale”. I guess, said Ted, she was more interested in having the cash than in eating the potatoes!”