Finding humor in the day-to-day

Student launches new website dedicated to her comedy writing

Some see the world either positively or negatively. Then there are those who look at the world and simply laugh.

UW-Eau Claire senior Sarah Johnson falls into the latter category. The creative writing and English double major is headed toward a career in comedy writing after she graduates in December and hopes to kick that off with her new website, The Human Octopus.

The site features a blog in which Johnson writes about day-to-day life with a comedic spin.

“One of the things I’ve realized while in school is that people think that things that are mundane aren’t worth talking about,” she said. “But the human experience isn’t mundane, because everyone’s is different.”

This blog is an opportunity for Johnson to use her own creative voice.

“I tell my story, as boring as it is, to prove that I can be funny even under those circumstances,” she said.

Johnson said she believes her funny bone stems from growing up with scoliosis, a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved, and having to wear a back brace to school starting at the age of 14.

“I realized that it was better to go with it and be funny than to be laughed at,” she said. “I think you have to take some things seriously, but some people take too many things seriously.”

Now without the back brace (or as she named it, “BB”), she has kept that humorous spirit going throughout her life. With role models like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, she hopes her jocular personality leads her to a career similar to theirs.

“My goal is to be on SNL (Saturday Night Live),” she said. “But I also want to write a book or two.”

As for her motivation, it is not simply to make people laugh.

“I like saying something (important) while making people laugh,” Johnson said. “I think laughter is a subconscious way to get a point across.”

The Human Octopus website is the first step in that direction. With blog posts titled “I’m Pro Pro/Con Lists” and “The Real World Doesn’t Want Me, and I Don’t Blame Her!” she aims for a somewhat undefined demographic but is getting her work out there for the world to see.

“With the oncoming doom of graduation, I just wanted to write something not related to school,” she said. “I use it as a way to not wait for opportunities to come to me.”

She does find it a challenge to create an audience though, not yet finding “much of an audience beyond Facebook.” But she thinks she’s found a format that works for her before she leaves Eau Claire.

Johnson plans to move to either the Twin Cities or Chicago and take improvisation classes to improve her comedic skills. Although she describes improvisation as “not her thing,” she said she compares it to taking poetry classes in school that weren’t easy for her but made her a better writer in the end.

Creative writing professor BJ Hollars said he sees a bright future ahead for Johnson.

“I’ve sent Sarah more than a few emails with a subject line that reads: ‘Here’s an idea for a skit you should use when you’re on SNL,’” he said. “It’s only a matter of time.”

Hollars also said reading her blog posts is a highlight of his day, and he added her posts are “a better pick-me-up than watching a dozen YouTube videos of cute kittens playing with yarn.”

Whether or not Johnson achieves her goal to work as part of New York’s popular Saturday night comedy show, her outlook remains the same.

“People don’t spend enough time laughing,” she said. “Laugh at the things that are funny, otherwise you’re just cheating yourself.”

You can find Johnson’s blog at