26168"United We Stand" by Brahmata
- Jun 15, 2014
United we stand, together we LOL
Dear friends, family, acquaintances, internet weirdos, that guy I cut off in the bike lane today (are you reading this? If so, sorry about that, I wasn’t paying attention) and anyone else who has chosen to waste a few moments of their life that they will never be able to get back,
Allow me to share one of my favourite humorous quotes with you:
“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” – Robert Benchley
This has proven true so many times in my life, including this very moment in which I am procrastinating on several projects yet somehow finding the time to write this.
One of the things that I “work on” regularly is constantly amusing myself. This can involve anything from practicing foreign accents in the mirror to keeping meticulous records of overheard conversation snippets that make me laugh. One “project” that I’ve had going for years is to jot down ideas for comedy sketches. This usually consists of one or two words to be elaborated on later. The only thing is, they are never actually revisited unless I stumble across them looking for something else. There are two reasons for this:
I have not been hired by anyone to write comedy sketches and I lack the ambition to produce them myself, so the motivation for developing these ideas just isn’t there.
90% of my ideas are impossible to decipher. I am without a doubt that “past me” thought these words made sense and that “future me” would enjoy fits of laughter upon reading them and be able embellish lavishly. Not the case. I will provide you with a few real-life examples just so you can see what I am dealing with here:
“bus driver- can’t drive properly, so into the music, pushing gas pedal to the beat”
“NEW CHARACTER: unstoppable ranter”
Really? Seriously “past me”, you thought that the phrase ‘dysfunctional appliances’ was such a great idea that it warranted three exclamation marks? I have journals full of this stuff! It is like trying to understand another language except that there is no nutcase to English dictionary so it is very frustrating.
However, I did find one that I enjoyed (and attempted):
“Impression to try: Bob Dylan with the stomach flu”
You may be wondering what this all has to do with anything, and to that I say … if you would just wait one second, I’m about to explain it. Geez, have some patience! It’s my article and if you don’t like it, you can go read something else!
… I’m sorry, please come back. I didn’t mean it. I can’t stay mad at you.
I guess what I’m saying is that humour is like poetry. It can be explained and analyzed but in order to truly understand it, you have to inhabit the space in which it was created. For this reason, I do not like explaining jokes (or poems). If you don’t “feel it” in the first place, then simply coming to an intellectual understanding is not going to be able to give you the full experience.
Many of us don’t inhabit the same humour universe, or “humourverse” if you will, and what makes us laugh at any given moment has a lot to do with what space we are in. Thus, something that made me ROFL (roll on the floor laughing) a couple of weeks ago might leave me dry today, as demonstrated by my previous notes.
It is a magical moment of synchronicity when two humans connect perfectly on the humour plane. For most of my life I have heavily relied on shared experiences, cultural references and inside jokes to make people laugh, but as my friend circle becomes larger and more diverse I have to find new ways to comedically connect. I have more of a “tough crowd” these days and many of my attempts at humour are met with the sound of crickets. (Maybe I am at more of a disadvantage than others though as I don’t even understand my own jokes). Of course there will always be people that giggle at the mere suggestion of a joke. You know the type, their eyes widen expectantly and they move to the edge of their seat, they can barely hear the punch line over the sound of their own laughter. God bless them, but anyone who would laugh at one of my Dad’s jokes doesn’t really count in my books.
Now that I find myself in the company of people from all ages and cultures, I truly appreciate the kind of universally appealing comedy that can make anyone laugh. This is where slapstick comes into the picture, although I have never been one to crack up at a pie in the face (such a waste of pie!). John Cleese’s brilliant performance in Monty Python’s ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ sketch (circa 1970) still holds up as one of my favourite bits of physical comedy and is a good example of this universal comedy. (If you haven’t seen it, look it up. I will wait here. You can thank me later.)
A really good laugh is like a return to childhood. I live next to an elementary school and whenever I walk by the playground, I hear the sound of constant laughter. There is so much spontaneous joy that they cannot contain it! It would be hard to find a parallel to this in the adult world, for even a comedy club is a controlled environment where someone has to work to earn the laughter. What I’m talking about is the kind of involuntary laughter that makes you catch your breath and wipe tears from your cheeks. When you share this kind of a laugh with someone, you will have a special bond for life. Real, pure laughter is a universal language that transcends all barriers.
Just as I do not understand how glow-in-the-dark items actually work, I also do not understand what makes myself or others laugh. Does anyone truly understand humour (or glow-in-the-dark)? Isn’t humour one of the magical mysteries of the human psyche that cannot be qualified, quantified or explained in any way? And doesn’t this all sound a little pretentious coming from someone who counts the following among her favourite jokes?
“If you go through a lot of hammers each month, I don’t think it necessarily means you’re a hard worker. It may just mean that you have a lot to learn about proper hammer maintenance.” – Jack Handey
May you laugh loud and laugh long!
“My louder than the loudest laughter
One of my life-preservers.”
– Sri Chinmoy (http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/seventy-seven-thousand-service-trees-01/642)