What is Shades of Greaves?

Shades of Greaves is a play on words.

Shades of Greaves is also a humor newsletter written by me, Carlos Greaves (pronounced like “graves,” hence the wordplay)

Who am I?

I’m an electrical engineer turned comedy writer who, for the past 3+ years, has been working full-time as a freelance writer / teacher / doer of any job that will pay me to write words. I contribute to The Onion, teach classes at The Second City, coach students at Hillside Writing, make TikToks, publish humor in The New Yorker and, of course, write this newsletter! You might’ve also seen some of my other work in McSweeney’s. Last year, I self-published my debut book, Spoilers: Essays That Might Ruin Your Favorite Hollywood Movies, and I’ve been documenting that journey on this newsletter in a section called “The Honda Civic Diaries,” a name that will make more sense if you start from the beginning of the series.

What to expect

The unexpected. Seriously. Humor is, at it’s core, the art of the unexpected. Like it’s evil twin, horror, humor is all about subverting your expectations. Unlike horror, humor will not subvert your expectations so unexpectedly that you pee your pants. Unless you pee your pants from laughing too hard, in which case, you’re welcome.

No, but really, what can I expect from Shades of Greaves?

Shades of Greaves is part topical satire site, part humor column, part personal essay collection. Imagine David Sedaris, Samantha Irby, Dave Barry, and Fran Lebowitz rolled into one if they were all worse at their jobs. Shades of Greaves is also 100% self-deprecating.

Because I was an engineer in a former life (and possibly a future life if this whole “writing for a living” thing doesn’t work out) I’m very process-oriented and therefore occasionally write about the craft of humor and how to get better at it.

Finally, Shades of Greaves is a community of people who like to laugh. So don’t be a stranger! Write a comment, start a chat, send me a note, or DM me. There are like 6,000 ways to communicate on Substack for some reason, but I promise I periodically check them all.

Supporting my work

Everything on Shades of Greaves is accessible to everyone (Gorbachev, tear down that paywall!) But if you’d like to support my work, I will gladly take your money in exchange for a lifetime of gratitude. You can even select your contribution level:



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A humor column from New Yorker and McSweeney's contributor Carlos Greaves


Carlos is an Afro-Latino engineer, writer and filmmaker. He teaches at The Second City, coaches at Hillside Writing, contributes to The Onion, and writes for The New Yorker, McSweeney's, and more. His debut book, Spoilers, is available now.