This is the latest in my series of blog entries taking a fresh look at a variety of topics. I’ve set up a page on the blog explaining the project and linking to my entries. This post’s topic is “Your Sense Of Humor.”
“Three hundred ninjas walk into a coffee shop.
The breester says we don’t serve your kind here.
And the ninja says, maybe we should destroy your whole building!”
“That’s kinda extreme.”
“And the ninja says, maybe we should destroy your whole building …
And make a better building for the coffee shop.”
“Oh, that’s nice!”
I’ve always been proud of my sense of humor.
Even if I couldn’t tell a joke to save my life.
For me, a good sense of humor is not really about being funny.
It’s about not taking things too seriously.
I’ve always been proud of the fact that, no matter how bad things may be, I can always laugh about it.
The truth is, there’s humor all around us. Life is funny, you know?
But most of the time, we take it too seriously to notice that.
When we stop, we started seeing the humor in things that we’ve been missing.
To the extent that I can be funny — and by now, I can be funny — it’s not so much because I can come up with funny things, it’s that I see the funniness already in things. Or see how to defy the expectations that we have in order to make things funny.
That’s the secret to a lot of improv we do. Sure, sometimes we’re funny because someone says something clever. But frequently we’re funny because the scene shows funny truths about life, and, because they’re pretend and on stage, it’s easy to let them be funny. Sometimes we’re funny because in our day to day lives, things happen in a consistent and logical pattern, and we find it funny when a scene deviates from that pattern.
If you can recognize those same things when they’re not on stage, the world becomes a happier place.
I enjoy laughing. I enjoy making people laugh. I do like being funny, because I like funny things.
I love sharing them with others.
Humor is one place I’ve been able to see that Finn and Caden are picking things up from being around me. They’ve come to several improv shows, and enjoy watching them, but they also want to do it themselves. They love giving suggestions during the show, but then they’ll want to play the games themselves afterward.
Finn was the first, completely on his own, to start telling the “101” jokes we do in the shows. When Finn started, Caden had to as well. Finn understands why my pun punchlines are funny, but struggles to make his own. Caden doesn’t get it at all, but finds the whole conceit of the joke funny. But it really doesn’t matter. Whether it’s because they came up with a good punchline or because their joke was totally random, the results are funny. And it’s fun to see them wanting to share that with me.
I hope that I can also teach them the truth in some wise words from A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
“The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly.”