Kerry Hammond is here for the post-Bouchercon wrap up to tell us about the funniest panel she attended at this year's Bouchercon in Raleigh, North Carolina.
You may notice that everyone on this panel is laughing, and there’s a good reason for it. It was one of the funniest panels at Bouchercon this year. It started with the name of the panel and the confusion it caused. Prior to the conference, one of the panelists had requested that the panel be called: A Jungian Analysis of the Constant Consistency of the Immoral Minority in Mystery Fiction and Elsewhere. Subsequently, that author had a medical emergency and was unable to attend Bouchercon. There was no time to explain the concept behind the panel topic, and this left the remaining panelists scratching their heads and musing aloud, much to the pleasure of the audience.
It was decided that the new topic would be Humor in Mysteries, and the panelists seemed to have no problem switching gears and letting the jokes fly. Moderator Don Bruns admitted to having been a stand-up comic in a past life and brought up the subject of humor in everyday life, a la Jerry Seinfeld. What followed was a story told by Parnell Hall that had tears streaming down all our faces.
The story was Parnell’s lament about self-flushing toilets, those paper seat covers you can never quite open, and the fact that stall doors never shut properly. There is no way that a retelling could do the story justice, so you’ll have to use your imagination. Suffice it to say, Jerry Seinfeld couldn’t have done better.
Margaret Maron, author of 29 novels and the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at this year’s Bouchercon was also a panelist. She looked slightly surprised at the change in topic, but rolled with it and told of few funny stories of her own that kept the audience entertained. I think she even enjoyed Parnell’s story as much as the audience.
Dorothy Cannell rounded out the wonderful list of panelists, inserting her own wit into the mix. It is no surprise that these authors have done so well. Their creativity and charm, not to mention their ability to change it up at the last minute, are skills that translate into their characters and writing.