Miami The world is about to get a lot less funny starting in January.
Dave Barry, The Miami Herald's humor columnist for the past 20 years, said Tuesday that he would take an indefinite leave of absence from the newspaper. He may return in a year.
Herald editors wish Barry were making it up.
"Since Dave's columns began appearing every Sunday in The Herald, an entire generation has been born, raised and reached adulthood," said Tom Fiedler, The Herald's executive editor. "Yet his unique sense of humor never grew up and never got old. Learning that Dave wants a breather is like hearing that Peter Pan joined AARP."
Barry, 57, said he wanted to spend more time with his family after a hectic summer trotting from the Democratic and Republican national conventions to the Olympics in Greece and around the country on a book promotion tour.
"I've never not had a column in a week in all of 30 years, even when I went on vacation," Barry said. "At some point I said, 'Well, maybe it'll be OK to not do it for a while.' And I didn't want to wait until I hated it, and I didn't want to wait until I thought, 'Oh, I've got no more columns to write."'
Barry intends to stay in South Florida with his wife, Herald sports writer Michelle Kaufman, and their 4-year-old daughter, Sophie, and will continue to write humor and children's books. He also plans to finish filming on the screen adaptation of his book, "Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys," which stars John Cleese as a British expert on "guydom" and Barry as himself.
He also may chime in occasionally, if events merit, but Barry said he had not decided whether he would return to writing his weekly column in 2006.
"Part of the reason for taking a year off is to find out if I just can't stand not being able to write," he said.
Barry's column is carried by about 500 newspapers across the country, including the Lawrence Journal-World.