Thursday, January 1, 2015

Funny Thing

“I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” --Mitch Hedberg

One of the most oft-listed attributes listed in online dating profiles? “Must have a sense of humor.”  But I ask you, what IS funny? The answers are as individual as we are. Do you find Three Stooges routines a riot, or boorish and sadistic?  How about George Carlin’s old standup acts, with their profanity and trenchant observations? Thumbs up or down? Are you more likely to tune in to Comedy Central or reruns of The Andy Griffith Show? And what tickles your fancy in the world around you? When someone slips on a banana peel, is your tendency to giggle? Or to just help them up?

I don’t recall growing up in the house of a million chuckles, though my mom and sisters appreciated humor and were themselves funny people. We just didn’t sit around and joke. One of the reasons was probably the presence of my dad, a strong, silent type who wouldn’t have recognized a quip if it bit him. In contrast, my uncles Jack and Gerry were hysterical, and could be counted upon to deliver rapid-fire family stories so comical that our stomachs would ache from laughing. Theirs was the humor of the Irish, a wee bit sarcastic and sardonic, finding the funny in decidedly un-funny situations.

I decided early on that my future spouse would have to have a quick wit, and was delighted to meet Steve. In addition to making me laugh on a regular basis, Steve shared my appreciation for the same comedians. One of our early dates was to see young Steve Martin and Martin Mull (“The Steve Martin Mull Show”) at the Great Southeast Music Hall in Atlanta.  And my Steve not only thought funny, he wrote funny plays—a bonus!

Our kids, who I find funny, also appreciate the humor of others. They introduced me to comedians ranging from Brian Regan, to Jim Gaffigan, to Louie C.K. Whenever they come home, they pull up videos on the computer of shows and standup routines that I find side-splitting.

Rose’s one request for her October birthday was money to take a comedy sketch writing course in New York City. Rose is known for writing short but hilarious Facebook posts, and I have no doubt she is capable of being an excellent comedy writer. She is stretching herself in a wonderful new direction.
My funny lady

Everyone can’t be funny. But everyone has the ability to appreciate the funny side of things. That is one of my prime resolutions for the new year: to laugh more often, and I think it’s a great resolution for all of us. It really doesn’t matter if you prefer the madcap movies of the Marx Brothers, or the rollicking, veddy veddy British stories of P.G. Wodehouse. What matters is tapping back in to the lighter side, wherever you find it.

So may 2015 be a year filled with joy and fun and lots of belly-laughs too. Life is too short to take seriously.

Groucho and Chico Marx--from "Horsefeathers"

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