More than great works of art or poetry or architecture or stories or sculpture, the human act of being funny makes me love us. I think it's really the only thing that does. Oh, sure, I admire us humans when we do impressive things. When we make something out of nothing and it is beautiful or thought provoking or scary or just wacky. When we feel, I feel, too. When we think and discover, I'm absolutely impressed.
But there is only one time when I feel joy for us and that's when one of us struts out to do something absolutely ridiculous, either in language or on stage or in a group of people.
My basic premise here in this life thing is that we all take ourselves way too seriously. Everything we do is filled with import. All our thoughts are ser-i-ous. We think big thoughts, fight the big battles, know the great things to know. We are smart and intellectual and keenly aware of all important aspects of the world. We know what is right, dammit, and we can prove it in mind-numbing iambic pentameter or just horrible tomes of leather-backed books.
Yesterday, I was reading the latest New Yorker, and again, the Shouts and Mummers section made me just kvell. Truly kvell, my eyes brimming, my heart expanding. Not because the writing was so smartly funny, but just because Paul Simms sat down to write something ridiculous, poking fun at speeches.
The other day while running on the treadmill, I watched the comic Christopher Titus do a riff on the "Anti-Dad," and he proceeded to relate with humor the horrible things "a" father could do. He then proceeded onto "his" mother, who managed to kill her last husband, and they "don't give you another one after that."
Yes, both of these funny things have a core of hard reality in them, but these two men rendered them funny. Life isn't so bad even when it is. We can come up upon the horror and turn it into something that is not. It's a big deal and not such a big deal.
I felt this way when watching hours of George Carlin on HBO, the long marathon of him the channel ran after his death. All the big social issues were in everything he talked about, but it was given to us in a way that made us humans seem charming and stupid and lovely.
Now, I know comics have their dark sides, but I like the basic approach. We aren't the end all. We are part of this ridiculous and wonderful experience, and it's not such a damn big deal.
I think Zen and comedy have a lot in common, but I'm not smart enough to draw the parallels right now. I'm just having to much fun to do it.
Causes Jessica Inclan Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org