Humour is a funny thing. What I find funny you probably find as funny as sucking on a lemon.
Thankfully, there are a zillion funny cards out there attempting to hit our ulnar nerves.
Sadly, most of them only get on our nerves. 90% of cards seem to be utter crap. That’s Sturgeon’s Law for you.
Despite being in the funny card business I have no idea what makes a card funny. I’ve asked retailers and fellow publishers and they have no idea either.
I suppose it’s because humour is such a personal thing. We can describe it but cannot define it. It has psychologists and academics struggling to explain it.
But then, why bother trying to? It’ll only end in tears.
Chances are, if someone discovers how it works, they’ll ruin it for everyone by developing a hideous data-driven formula, feeding into a computer and monetising it.
Some things are best left alone and unexplained.
On that cheery uplifting note, how about some hilarious adult cards?
1 - Modern Toss
I’ve been there. I bet you have too.
Being an advertising copywriter I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve had pointless meetings like this.
Except we didn’t spout an expletive but something more on the lines of going to the pub or for a curry.
This hilarious card displays Modern Toss’s usual irreverence.
As their website says: the stink of excellence on a world that’s gone tits up.
Their rude - and sometimes vulgar - cards are not to everyone’s liking. Ha. Good.
2 - Kissmekwik
Kissmekwik’s Vintage Illustration range has great one-liners. Short and sweet.
A great copywriter’s joke. Autocorrect is the bane of a copywriter’s life. God knows why people knead it.
3 - Hazel Bee
I love Hazel Bee’s simple, quirky cards. The illustrations may be simple, but they’re packed with personality.
Her illustrations perfectly fit her wacky off-beat scenarios. To draw this efficiently and minimally takes practice.
4 - Emotional Rescue
You can spot an On-The-Ceiling card a mile off. This range by Emotional Rescue uses great vintage black and white photos that lend themselves to some humoury. (I know that’s not a word.)
A classic joke set up - one with a twist at the end. It works every time. Probably written by a professional jokester.
5 - Punch
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned Punch cartoon. Being an old swinger myself this one from Punch magazine resonates with me.
Middle-class urbane wit at its best. I would say it’s above par that doesn’t make sense in golfing terms.
First published in 1975. You can tell by the flared trousers.
6 - Cath Tate Cards
Ah…the classic ‘Let it all out’ thinking woman’s card. You try everything to relieve life’s tensions, but sometimes a spot of violence might do the trick.
With over 80% of the card market being women it’s no surprise cards like this pop up, though few have the same sharpness as Cath Tate Cards that's been in the business for about 40 years.
Being a writer I look at what other writers do best. I love sharp, acerbic lines.
I stumbled across these only recently. Great lines, simply executed. The quirky font makes the lines sing.
Hit and Run Greetings is based in Hollywood, California. Its tagline 100% Sugarfree Greeting Cards sums it up nicely. That's very ad-like.
Sometimes you don’t need words. Having a visual to work it out is the reward. This understated funny card is a form of slapstick.
I’ve had this Jerry Van Amerongen card since 1991 when a girlfriend gave it to me as a St Patrick’s Day card.
Jerry is retired as far as I can make out but produced wonderful observational cartoons. His most famous being in The Neighborhood range.
9 - The New Yorker
Everyone loves a dog card, especially a funny one. Why is it that we can’t help anthropomorphising? (It took me three goes to spell that.)
Do you think dogs do the same when they look at us? The New Yorker has classic dog cartoons that cock a leg at the world.
10 - Free Spirit Press
I’ve saved the best till last.
I don’t know anything about Free Spirit Press except it’s from Oklahoma, but what a joy!
It’s this sort of thing that catches you unawares and makes your day.
I could never think of lines like this. The writer must have been dropped on their head at childbirth and left with permanent Left-Of-Field Syndrome.
The marrying of the visual and the line using disturbed handwriting needs a special type of brain. Mine clearly isn’t. Though it’s probably slightly disturbed.
I came across Free Spirit Press on Etsy by accident, as one does when you’re meandering aimlessly on the internet.
And finally…some more hilarious cards...
Saying happy birthday in a crazy way needs a crazy card. But there are so few around. If you see some, let me know.
I hope you enjoyed these.
To send you off in a good mood, here are some more funny cards. I won’t include any of mine as that’s cheating.