February 26, 2013 by phicks2012
I love to laugh, and I do so unselfconsciously, but I’ll confess that when it comes to humor I can be a hard sell. I can sit through most television sit-coms without cracking a smile at all, because, frankly, I don’t find most of them to be particularly hilarious, and I generally figure that if something needs a laugh track to cue the audience when the content is supposed to be funny, it probably means you might not be able to detect the humor otherwise. Just sayin’.
Of course, humor is subjective, and I never found The Three Stooges to be funny either, nor the whole Dumb and Dumber school of comedy, so you can draw your own conclusions concerning my sense of humor from that. You certainly can say with certitude that I’m not an easy audience. Slapstick and pratfalls will only rarely do the trick for me (with the exception of Monty Python where the physical humor is done mostly deadpan and with underlying intelligence), insult humor hardly ever has any effect (Don Rickles never did a thing for me), and crude/shock humor generally just isn’t that funny. I mean, anyone with a minimal mastery of the spoken word can shock, right? But I have a definite weakness for dry humor, and for the ability to say outrageous things with a straight face and a level voice. Intelligent, dry wit will crack me up nearly every time, as will good improv.
I still get a good laugh out of Mel Brooks movies, old Carol Burnett reruns, George Carlin routines, Steven Wright, Monty Python, and Whose Line Is It Anyway. I also love musical humor like Rob Paravonian’s “Pachelbel Rant”, Matt Jernigan’s “Country Rapp”, Mike Rayburn’s “Dan Fogelberg does ACDC” and “Bob Marly does Garth Brooks”, Tim Minchin’s “Inflatable You”, Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”, and of course Weird Al Yankovic’s “You’re Pitiful”. Ray Stevens has also unexpectedly stood the test of time. Don’t look, Ethel!
It’s rather like asking “If a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one to hear, does it make a sound?” “If a comedian does his routine, but I’m the only one there to NOT laugh, should he still keep his day job?” I’d say “Yes”, but then we’ve already established that I’d probably advise the same for some fairly popular (with other people) comedians. There used to be a game show on TV called “Make Me Laugh”, and contestants could win cash if the comedians on the show couldn’t crack them up. I’d have made a FORTUNE on that show, because on the few occasions when I was bored enough to watch it I never even smiled, but give me a clever juxtaposition between a straight face and outrageous content, and that’s a different matter entirely!
I love to laugh! Make me laugh!