Monday, May 09, 2011
Sit down comic
I think I would have become a stand up comic if I wasn't introverted and basically a very shy person. Though it is just those characteristics that make me want to tell jokes to avoid the awkwardness of communicating with people face to face. If I was to pick which Friends character I could relate to, it would be Chandler. I am definitely not a Joey. Though I imagine every Chandler does wish he was a Joey.
Unless you watch reruns of Friends ad nauseum the way I do, that analogy means nothing to you. And the only reason I watch reruns of Friends ad nauseum is because it is one of the few programs that is on during the hour I work out at the gym.
But I digress.
I actually cringe when I have the gall to imply that I am indeed funny enough to be a stand up comic. Because as painfully self-aware as I am, I need to acknowledge that very few people who think they are funny are. I do know what I think is funny and I have been known to make people laugh on occasion. But I realize that doesn't in fact make me funny.
This always conjures up an anecdote of mine from college when I wrote a humor column for the school paper. When a professor in my philosophy class called out my name, a young woman turned around and asked, "Are you that guy who writes the humor column in the Spectator?" When I acknowledged that that was me, she said, "You don't look funny."
There are so many appropriate responses to that kind of statement, yet at the time, I couldn't think of a single one. She turned around and focused on the day's discussion of existentialism. I returned to staring out the window.
I realize I have told this story in my blog before, but it is not as though there are a steady stream of people reading every word I write on a daily basis. So in that sense, I could be a stand up comic doing a show with a different audience every night. I can keep repeating the same thing every day until someone actually laughs. I don't really have to change the material, just the delivery.
But I imagine I would get bored.
I enjoy most stand up comics. I envy that they can spout obscenities like a teamster with Tourette's and people roar their heads off. I also appreciate that many of them are so totally insecure about some aspect of their lives and they have chosen to use humor as their way to cope. I've always thought the reason I make jokes at my own expense is to beat others to the punchline.
Of course, not all humor is self-depreciating. Sometimes you have to make fun of people, systems and institutions just to dope slap them into not taking themselves too seriously. Humor can stick a pin in the pompous and restore the proper perspective on life.
Being comedic is just putting a different perspective on the tragic or in many cases the mundane. I would much rather laugh myself into the grave than cry. So if I can't be a stand up comic, I can be a sit down one and blog my shtick. Because the way I see it, it's all a laughing matter.