Humor Writing Tip No. 4: Mel Helitzer on Humor and Hostility

Read a quote about comedy writing from the legendary Mel Helitzer.

mel_helitzerI had the pleasure of taking Mel Helitzer’s humor writing class at Ohio University. He was a great and generous man, and he is missed. This is one of the concepts he taught us that has stuck with me to this day. Does it hold true all of the time? I’m not sure. But is it an idea that is present in most comedy? Is it something that lurks beneath the surface of humor that we seldom think about. I believe it is.

Via Comedy Writing Secrets:

“Humor is disguised hostility.” – Melvin Hellitzer, Comedy Writer/Professor


Author: Joe Donatelli

Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles. He publishes The Humor Columnist.

  • Janice Arenofsky

    Thanks for opening me up to your site. And yeah I agree with Hellitzer and Barry. Humor can be vengeful (see Don Rickles) and always reflects the absurdities of life we have to cope with every day. Humor keeps thinking people sane. Lucky you with Hellitzer–must have been fun!

  • He was funny and classy, and he is missed. I urge anyone who wants to do anything in comedy to take classes. You bump into the most wonderful people. Thanks for writing, Janice.