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Thread: A comedy with a cancer sufferer

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    A comedy with a cancer sufferer

    I plotting out a rom com. Think Bridget Jones' Diary. Roughly half way through, my MMC is diagnosed with cancer. Is that too much for a comedy? I know there's comedy dramas where things like this has happened e.g. Funny People. But what if the comedy is quite light and silly. Does that still work?

  2. #2
    seņora vaca writeonleanne's Avatar
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    I'd be really curious to see how you handle it. As a cancer survivor, I usually zoom away from novels with MCs who have cancer because the books either a) romanticize it or b) trigger bad memories. BUT I also love comedy—especially comedy that can handle serious topics well. My gut feeling is that it'll be tough—you may be able to keep silly elements, but it might not be very 'light' anymore.

    If you want a sounding board, feel free to PM me.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
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    I have decided it is too serious to be in a light, silly comedy. A comedy drama, yes. The lightness would be gone and I think it may come across as a different novel in the second half.

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I think you can pull it off when done right. How are you doing so far? And what kind of silly are you going for? Something of the Monty Python like? (I'm not really familiar with Bridget Jones.)

    Perhaps you'd be interested in this whimsical poem about cancer by genetics extraordinaire JBS Haldane. He wrote this before eventually perishing from it. Perhaps his final punchline, knowing his wont for dark humor.

    http://nsmn1.uh.edu/dgraur/texts/cancerhaldane.htm

  5. #5
    I can envision it better as a romance involving cancer, that has a few funny or light moments. IMO "hospital humor" is quickly tiring. For some reason I picture a patient with a serious illness cracking jokes about it and loved ones laughing kinda just to be nice. So... I guess it's all in how it's done.
    Last edited by Fruitbat; 08-14-2017 at 10:13 PM.

  6. #6
    King of the Kitties Quentin Nokov's Avatar
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    I don't know, you might be able to make it a comedy depending on the character's personality. I work for a surgeon and there is a lady who comes in and she is pretty funny. She went through some other serious trials and the cancer is a "walk in the park" compared to her car accident she had some ten years ago when she nearly lost both her feet. They were ripped off and were only hanging by little ligaments. Her ankles were completely shattered! And yet she's a hoot. I love her.

    I have severe ulcerative colitis (soon to have surgery for it), and I've been pretty much chained to a bathroom for the last 14 years. We finally got the pictures back from my brother's wedding and the photographer was getting photos of the bridesmaids and groomsmen going down the aisle. So she gets a picture of me and my partner, right? In the background you can see the porta potties with RESTROOMS clear and big written across them. I saw the picture and was like "UH, figures the photographer would get the restrooms in the background with me. Not anybody else, though! The restrooms have to be in my picture. Uh. Story of my life." My family cracked up laughing. It was situational humor and something that perhaps only my family could truly find funny, but I meant for my response to be taken in a light-hearted way. Sometimes when you deal with something for so long you just have to laugh it off. It's probably some type of coping mechanism.

    I'd say it's plausible to have a cancer-comedy if the character's personality lends itself to that. One of the fun things about going through medical trials is being able to exaggerate the stories with highly descriptive words just to see the horror on other people's faces. . . . At least, that's one of the things that *I* find fun.
    For better or for worse, I started a blog.


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