The Crisis of Comedy


charlieI am one of millions of people gifted with the funny. And just like any other gift, it’s both a blessing and a curse.

I can’t count the number of times that my mouth has gotten me into trouble. And I’m not just talking about being a jerk, though I seem to have that capacity down pretty good. I am talking about the instinct to be funny.

 

When I am confronted with a situation, whether stressful, frightening, or otherwise, I make a joke. It’s my go-to reaction. Others bitch, others snap into decisive action, I joke.

There are times I need to quell this instinct like a facial tic. Students in a second language classroom come out with some deliciously hilarious accidental statements. As a teacher, I am sworn to help, as a comedian, I am biting through my cheek to avoid making a joke. Despite the mind-boggling tragedy of a plane crash, my brain can’t help but make a hundred jokes about the term black box.

The problem with being a funny person is that we tend to piss people off. A comedian’s job – whether he or she is paid to do it or not – is to see the funny side of something and to report it to those around them. We need to make people laugh. For good or bad, it’s the way we enter the world.

Think about how dull the world would be without comedy. How dull would everyday things become if funny people weren’t there to point out the comedy in them. Imagine things as banal as cubicle life, Irish people, and cats without funny people around to make them hilarious. Not to mention the brave comedians who storm into the mine laden fray of gender issues, politics, and religion. Where would we be without Jon Stewart, Louis CK, or George Carlin? Who’s going to be brave enough to make the jokes that countless others think but are too afraid to say?

It’s this willingness to take the hit for all of us that makes comedians so essential. They voice – or write, or draw – the things in our heads that we are too terrified to say aloud or admit. Maybe it’s the gooey feeling about that special cousin or a dangerously hilarious stereotype. Comedians say these things so we don’t have to; all we have to do is laugh. Additionally, by voicing these insane thoughts and ideas, comedians put us at ease. They make us realize that we aren’t crazy, because this guy thinks the same thing. Comedians allow us to retain our sanity.

But here’s the thing: no matter your opinion on comedians, they aren’t going anywhere. They have to make comedy; it’s a necessity. Despite any negative feedback, complaints, or rage they might draw from others, they are not going to stop making comedy. So instead of waiting for comedians to stop making jokes, writing things, or drawing cartoons that upset us, perhaps we could just choose not to look at those things. If we want, we could totally avoid things that upset us.

Or we could just lighten up a bit. Golly, imagine the world if that happened. There might be fewer fights or fewer violent deaths. There might be more giggle fits, smiling, and knee-slapping laughter. The possibilities are endless.

Who knows, there might even be more comedians alive in Paris right now.

  1. #1 by greg galeone on January 12, 2015 - 2:52 am

    Good one Damo.

  2. #2 by Lonnie on January 12, 2015 - 6:39 pm

    MUAH – kisses to my favorite comedian! Easily the funniest comedian I’ve ever seen naked in person. Unless you consider Bill O’Reilly to be a comedian – then it’s a tough call. And I have some explaining to do.

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