This is my 200th blog! I’m more than halfway to my goal of doing 365 blogs in 365 days. Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
I will take this opportunity to talk about trying to be funny. I mentioned before that I got satellite radio in my Prius for a 3-month trial, and I’ve been listening to comedy stations with really funny people saying very funny things. Oh how I wish I could remember some of them.
These guys are either telling some outrageous story that is funny all by itself, or they use surprise. A comedienne tells the story, “I went to the doctor with an ache in my back. He asked me questions for twenty minutes, looked things up in some books, then said, “Have you ever had this condition before?” and I said, “Yes, a couple months ago,” and the doc says, “Well, you got it again. That will be $100.”
Comedy is about connections – the ones you automatically make in your head and then the alternative ones that funny people throw at you. It’s about the people around you doing odd things, or it’s the way you can connect that odd thing with something else. Remember that old Pink Panther movie where Peter Sellers, in his heavy French Inspector Clouseau accent, says to a guy holding a sweet little dog on a leash, “Does you dog bite?” The guy holding the dog answers, “No.” So Clouseau bends down to pet the cute little thing and nearly gets his hand chewed off. “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite.” The man shrugs his shoulders. “It’s not my dog.”
These comediennes are great observers of the ordinary. They take the most mundane thing and describe it until it looks absurd and funny. Jerry Seinfeld is great at doing that, and so was George Carlin. Seinfeld points out that studies show that the number one fear people have is public speaking. The second is death. If that’s true, and you’re attending a funeral, he says, then you’d rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.
As Larry the Cable Guy says, “Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.”
I love reading Dave Barry’s books. He also points out ordinary things and then takes them to the depths of absurdity. For instance, he says that Magnetism is one of the Six Fundamental Forces of the Universe. The other five are: Gravity, Duct Tape, Whining, Remote Control, and The Force That Pulls Dogs Toward The Groins Of Strangers. He makes his words even funnier by capitalizing them as if they were truly some scientific or official entity.
It doesn’t matter how much you listen to comedy, though, to be good at it you have to practice it. That’s why I’m doing this exercise. Sometimes it appears to be simply exercise (I’m sorry), but sometimes I hit on a topic or story that amuses me and I laugh out loud. I hope I’ve given you a giggle or two here and there.
I’m thinking I may make up some people for the next hundred and sixty-five days. I wish I could say that my friends are really funny and I’m surrounded by humor – but frankly I am not. My friends tend to like to bitch about their lives to me because this is what women do with each other – we shop and complain. Others I encounter during the day are usually doing their best to hack me off rather than amuse me. My kids are teenagers, and there’s nothing funny about that. Plus life isn’t a whole lot of fun and games, truth be told. We have these great incidences of fun but they are like oil floating on water – the everyday tiresome repetitive functions are the water. You get out of a warm bed, make the bed, pick up someone’s discarded underwear, feed the dog, do laundry, fight traffic, work for a person who knows less than you do, dodge grocery carts, cook the same old dinner after sitting in the freezing rain watching a track meet. Yep, there’s a lot of water in life.
But when I approach the day with humor, I can find things to amuse me if I don’t let my natural irritation get in the way. So I’ll keep looking for subjects to write about, for another 165 days at least. If you see anything you like, please don’t hesitate to say something.