Guest Post – How To Be Funny by Barry Hutchison


I was so excited to be asked to be part of the blog tour for hilarious Barry Hutchison’s Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar!

Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar was released on 2nd June 2016 published in by Stripes Publishing and is set to be a super funny MG read!

A huge thank you to Stripes Publishing for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me the book to read and review!

In fact my son and I have picked it as our first ever #Read-Toy-Gether which is a new feature we have created for Tales!  You can find out more about that here

For my stop on the blog tour I have a brilliant guest post from Barry Hutchison – How To Be Funny!

*laughs out loud*


Dylan Malone, aka Beaky, has a habit for telling porkies – every time he opens his mouth, out pops a whopper…But then his long-suffering sister shoves him into the truth-telling machine at Madame Shirley’s Marvellous Emporium of Peculiarities. Now Beaky can’t tell a lie – not even a teeny-weeny one – and a truth-telling Beaky is even worse…

How To Be Funny

First up, let me start by introducing myself. I’m Barry Hutchison, author of Beaky Malone: World’s Greatest Liar, as well as dozens of other comedy novels for children and teenagers. I’ve also written for CITV comedy series, Bottom Knocker Street, starring Phill Jupitus, have developed a sitcom with BBC Scotland Comedy, and write for a number of comics, including Gnasher & Gnipper for The Beano. This means I’m currently the only person on Earth who can tell Dennis the Menace’s dog what to do, without running the risk of getting my legs chewed off.

Despite all this – despite forging a career out of writing stuff wot makes people laugh – I’m not entirely sure how it’s actually done. I mean, I know it’s about putting certain words in a specific order, but beyond that it’s all a bit… vague, really.

The funniest bits in my books and scripts tend to happen all by themselves, without any careful scientific planning on my part. I’d love to say there’s a formula you can apply to your paragraphs which will guarantee a laugh, but there isn’t. Or, if there is, no-one’s told me about it.

Writing comedy is all about getting to know your character, finding their unique voice, and understanding not just how they view the world, but how the world views them. It’s about the contradiction between who your character is, and who they think they are.

Which all sounds a bit complicated, and it is. Luckily, there are few things which are pretty much guaranteed to get a laugh from young readers, and if you’re starting to write comedy for children, you could do a lot worse than include these top three favourites.


Seriously, you can’t go wrong. Farting, guffing, bottom burping, letting one go – there are few things as funny as flatulence. Don’t go filling your pages with booty toots, though – it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, after all – but a well-timed PARP will have young readers rolling in the aisles. In an emergency, farts can be replaced by burps, but they’re nowhere near as funny as an explosive burst of bum gas. Trust me.

People Being Biffed in the Face with Things

Another classic, which is sure to raise a smile if done correctly. Having a character get thwacked in the face with something, particularly when accompanied by a funny sound effect like “THONK!” can instantly make your readers crease up with laughter. It’s even more effective when the character being biffed in the face has just made some sort of pompous remark, or been a bit mean to another character. In order for it to be funny, the character can’t be badly hurt, but having them be a bit dazed, or even lose a tooth or two, is perfectly acceptable.

Ritual Humiliation

Struggling to add some more laughs to your story? Have one or more characters utterly humiliate themselves in some way. Perhaps their trousers fall down, they slip on a banana skin or, like Beaky in World’s Greatest Liar, they loudly confess to doing a little wee in their pants. The more public their humiliation, the funnier it’ll be! It’s important to note the bit about the character humiliating themselves. If another character humiliates them, it’s nowhere near as funny. That’s just mean. Having a character shamed by their own clumsiness, stupidity or, even better, over-ambitiousness, though – now that’s funny.

For bonus points, why not combine two or more of the above? Have a character fart with such explosive force they tear a hole in their trousers, or slide on a patch of ice and eventually WHANG their face into a lamp post. The possibilities are endless, and young readers will never get tired of laughing at them.

I hope.


You can buy a copy of Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar here

About Barry Hutchison

barry_hutchison photo

Barry Hutchison is an award-winning children’s author and screenwriter. His first book – INVISIBLE FIENDS: MR MUMBLES – was published in 2010 to critical acclaim. The book went on to win the Royal Mail Award for Scottish Children’s Books in 2011, by which point two more books in the horror series had been published.

In 2012 HarperCollins Children’s Books published Barry’s comedy fantasy novel, THE 13TH HORSEMAN, which was even more well-received than MR MUMBLES, with fans including the multi-award-winning best-selling author, Neil Gaiman. Shortly after Horseman won the Scottish Children’s Book Award, a sequel – The Book of Doom – was published.

Since 2008 Barry has written over fifty books for children, including several based on the hit Cartoon Network show, BEN 10. When not writing he is usually visiting schools and libraries to run events and story-writing workshops for kids and adults alike.

He recently wrote thirty-six episodes of the CITV comedy series, BOTTOM KNOCKER STREET, starring comedian Phill Jupitus.

Barry lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife, Fiona, and their two children, Kyle and Mia. His biggest fear is that someone will one day discover how much fun his job is and immediately put a stop to it. His second biggest fear is squirrels.

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at any of the below stops!


A huge thank you to Barry for a fantastic super funny guest post and to Jennifer at Stripes Publishing for organising this and having me as part of the tour.

You can find out more about Beaky Malone 2 and its fab characters here

Have you read Beaky Malone World’s Greatest Liar?  What did you think?  How would you make people laugh?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy laughing!



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I am often known to be a bit clumsy and a little loopy! Book loving (obsessed), theatre loving, slasher film loving csi geek! Winner of UKYABA Champion Newcomer 2015 and nominated for Champion of Social Media 2016 and Blogger Of The Year 2016! © 2014 - 2021 Michelle Toy All Rights Reserved

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1 Response

  1. June 8, 2016

    […] You can find a guest post from Barry Hutchison about How To Be Funny here […]