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Portland: “Make me Laugh: Satire in a Dangerous World” with Mark Russell and Gigi Little
March 7, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:10 pm
Make me Laugh: Satire in a Dangerous World
It’s not easy making people laugh, especially with satire. You have to not only be aware of what people think is funny, you also have to know how far you can take a joke. Where is the point between laughter and shock? How can we engage humor, irony, and exaggeration in this polarized political climate?
Author Mark Russell and Editor Gigi Little are here to help. Join them at The Old Church in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, March 7th to hear Russell and Little discuss satire, humor, and finding the funny in a dangerous world.
The Power of Satire
Gigi Little, the editor of City of Weird: 30 Otherwordly Portland Tales, recently rediscovered the power of satire.
“I wasn’t particularly out to find satire in the stories I was gathering for the anthology City of Weird,” Little explains, “but satire certainly found me. I was looking for stories of fun dangers (monsters, ghosts, space invasions) that would speak to more real dangers–the things we are all afraid of. In my authors’ submissions, some of the keenest explorations of these fears were written with wit, humor, and irony.” The authors in City of Weird used humor as a way to explore the weird and wild side of Portland.
Author Mark Russell’s piece in City of Weird stands out for its ridiculous ideas that perfectly personify Portland. Russell knows the possibilities of satire. His novel, God is Disappointed in You, takes a modern approach to the bible. Russell strips down the language and long passages of the bible to get to the core meanings of the text. The novel is funny and irreverent, but also thought-provoking and faithful.
How to Write Satire
As Russell explains, “Satire needs to not only get people laughing at each other, but at themselves as well. When people can still laugh at themselves, it’s proof that the world is still salvageable.”
That approach is what makes Russell and Little’s work so compelling, and at our March meeting, they will give us tips and tricks for how to work satire into your own work, while staying authentic. Both Little and Russell push the bounds of literature, while also believing in it.
“Face it,” Little says. “It’s really difficult to change someone’s mind, even when their belief runs contrary to facts. I think the most effective way to get through to someone is through humor.”
Russell has been using this approach in his novels, and he is also the writer behind The Flintstones comic. The comic has gotten rave reviews; The AV Club explained that “As silly as the book gets, Russell keeps it grounded in meaningful character relationships, and artist Steve Pugh handles both the humor and drama with care.”
That’s the challenge with satire – getting people laughing, while also thinking critically. On March 7th, Little and Russell will show us how it’s done. And, they’ll also make us laugh too.
So join us at The Old Church in downtown Portland, 1422 SW 11th Ave. on Tuesday, March 7th. Doors open at 6:30PM; event begins at 7PM. Willamette Writers members are always free, along with full-time students under the age of 25. Guests are $5.
Join us for tea, cookies, and a great conversation with Mark Russell and Gigi Little.
Find Out More
Interested? Join us! All writers welcome.