Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Can I Still Laugh?

Things have been a little serious around here.

Sure, I try to pack a little humor into every post, but a lot of my recent topics have been kind of serious. In fact, when I look at my life these days, I tend to be serious a lot more than I was a few years ago.

Now some of that is just the natural maturing process. At a certain point, fart jokes, semen jokes and general stupidity lose some of their luster. Plus, I have a son now, and that means watching my behavior and my humor to make sure I don't lead him down the wrong path.

But, sometimes I wonder if my sense of humor has atrophied. I seem to find so few things funny, particularly things that make other people bust a gut. Jokes that traffic on common stereotypes about white people, black people, Asians or Hispanics seem so trite. I often find myself explaining to people exactly why their jokes aren't funny, which is always a mood killer.

This kinda bums me out.

I used to be funny. Actually, people still tell me that I'm hilarious on occasion. But, I've started to feel guilty that so many of my jokes depend on dirty language or crude jesting. It makes me feel like I'm failing in my mission to lead a Christian life because I'm not always certain God would approve of my topics of conversation.

It feels like I'm trying to forge a path where I can still jest and joke, but without the crudeness and foulness that has dominated my humor in the past. The funny thing is, while it's hard for me to let go of those old types of humor when it comes to my actions, I've already let go of them when it comes to what I actually find funny in other people. I can still appreciate Eddie Murphy's "Delirious," but it's getting harder and harder.

And let's not even discuss this new "snark" movement which seems to be comedy based on the assumption of superiority. That doesn't work for me because I'm constantly trying to remind myself that I'm not superior. I don't want to be better than other people, I just want to be a better version of me.

Anyway, this post went in a totally different direction than I planned. Originally I wanted to discuss the fact that we all need to lighten up and find the humor in the world around us. Instead, I've managed to find even more reasons to be serious and gloomy.

Can anybody offer me some help?



des said...

It's simple. If you see or hear something you think is funny, laugh. You've been infected with subliminal political correctness, which, if left alone, will render you super-serious and a total drag to be around. I still laugh at Caddyshack, I saw a rerun of a Robert Townsend HBO special a few weeks ago and still laughed when I saw " The Bold, The Black, The Beautiful". Above all, it's healthy for you. Some of the stuff I find funny would make you cringe, it certainly makes my wife look at me funny :). Don't censor yourself, others will try and do that for you.

Darth Whitey said...

Take a chill pill BM. Watch The Simpsons, Seinfeld, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's good for what ails ya.

I like to listen to rap music for entertainment. I'm serious (is that racist?) I find the lyrics to be hilarious even though they're so vile. And don't tell me the rappers don't do it on purpose either. How else can Dr. Dre have the lyric "Get my drink on, get my smoke on, and go home with something to poke on." or Ice Cube's "No barking from the dog, no smog, and momma cooked the breakfast with no hog."

Also funny is the dialogue in the tragic urban drama "Menace to Society." For instance, there really is no need for this line other than humour: "I want your bling, your rims, and I'll take a double burger with cheese!" after which the mark at the drive-thru fails to comply and instead orders a double burger w/out cheese, and the jacker angrily says "Mofo I said with cheese!!"

See, just gotta know where to look!

JudithNYC said...

For some serious laughing I watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. It's not so much that I try to be politically correct, it's that the things that were hilarious at 16 are not at 60.

Macon D said...

What's funny depends so much on the individual, so it's hard to know what to recommend. I like to get goofy with kids--get into their world, maybe by challenging them to create their own riddles, and trying to make up one of your own that you hope they'll find funny.

I thought the British movie "Happy Go Lucky" was wonderful. It's not so much a comedy, but the general attitude of the central is instructive, and it's a great story.

Also, you could get cheered up by going out and spending a couple of hours a week as a Compliment Guy.

Deacon Blue said...

I'm with everyone else, Big Man...don't get too serious about the issue. There are so many different types of humor. Some of it can be hateful, but mostly, humor is what it is. I understand your desire to be aware of humor that relies too much on foul language or making fun of others. But even while navigating those areas (which do still have value in the right hands), remember that humor can be big or small and that as we get older, we may not feel as funny.

I go through phases on my blog where I really feel like I'm on a good streak with the humor thing. My Hummus Idol posts a lot of times hit that mark. Well, I haven't done a Hummus Idol post in a while. Sometimes, our humor comes in phases, and we should just be ready to embrace it when it's ready to be embraced and wielded.

Don't worry so much about whether you're funny. If there are good people who want to be around you, that's a better indicator of how "fun" you are. I only know you online, but I love "hanging around" with you in this venue. I suspect if we were in the same region of the country, I'd enjoy getting together with you.

Your humor shows. You don't have to force it.

Anonymous said...

I don't laugh at jokes. I might chuckle from time to time. The only people who seem to make me laugh at stupid stuff are college friends who tell the same silly stories from eight years ago.

Now, I'm humored by the irony in truth. That goes for movies, television, music, sports, politics and life. And there's plenty of those things to go around.

Perfect example: A friend put up a facebook status that said: "(insert name) finds irony in a barber having framed pics of pac, marley...and jason williams. The duke one. Yup."

I replied: "The list of framed pics would be more diverse if it were Jason "White Chocolate" Williams. But you have to admit there would be even more irony and outright weirdness if it were of gun-loving Jayson Williams." ...

RiPPa said...

Look, I got a text message the other day from St. Peter. He said that the surveillance camera in heaven is not in service right now. I'ono, he said something about a bad economy and a pawn shop or something like that. That said, you have free reign man to write all the funny vile stuff you like because nobody's watching up above right now.

Clifton said...

Greetings Big Man,
It's difficult sometimes to keep the humor up especially when you are required to pay attention too real life drama all day. I work with agencies that serve homeless clients all day. Between hearing those stories all day and just trying to follow the news it's hard to crack many jokes. That's why sometimes I make the conscious effort to clown around sometimes just to keep some balance.

I have some friends that share my sense of humor and I make sure to call them up or visit just to get some laughter in. Maybe Delirious doesn't move you like it used to but you have to find something to keep that side of you going.

I bought the Richard Pryor CD set years ago and I find that his comedy actually holds up with maturity.

Lolo said...

Oh dear, you are in for one loooong ride if you outlaw inappropriate humour as a parent. Good grief, man!! Don't you even remember how funny a fart was when you were a kid?

I had to eventually loosen up about laughing about body functions and I'm infamous with my friends about how uptight I am about farting, burping, boogers. The thing is, once your kids learn where your buttons are you're going to have to surrender to their natural silliness or you're going to be Big Daddy Crankypants and miss out on lots of hysterical, snort your milk out your nose, fall down on the floor laughing.

It all makes me laugh, pretty much, until it doesn't. I know, there are things that even while I'm snickering I feel a bit uncomfortable and I just go with that. I check myself to find just why I'm uneasy. And the thing is, there are things that I only laugh about with my closest friends but those same friends are the folks that I can share my uneasiness with too.
Watch some Louis CK for a white dude's take on being white. He's funny as hell while totally nailing it.
Also, he says out loud the things that run through my head about parenthood.

It's only as serious as you let it be.

Raving Black Lunatic