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Scott Adams’ 2-of-6 Rule

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Scott Adams has shared his secret of writing humour. Not a well-kept secret, admittedly, since he described it in more detail in his book “The Joy of Work”, but it seems like a pretty good rule. There’s six elements, and you can get humour by mixing at least two of them…

  • Cute
  • Naughty
  • Bizarre
  • Clever
  • Recognizable
  • Cruel

“Dilbert works best when cute Dogbert is doing something cruel, in a clever way, to people we recognize. That’s my version of 4-of-6 and I rarely hit it. Usually I start with a recognizable business situation and just make something cruel out of it. On a good day I can do it in a clever fashion. On a bad day I introduce some bizarre character like a giant talking cucumber. On average, I hit only 2 or 3 of the elements. That’s good enough to run in 2,000 newspapers, but it still isn’t a pimple on Snoopy’s buttocks.”

Go read the full article for his explanation, including comic strips that show you what he means, and why he loves Calvin and Hobbes and Snoopy so much.

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