Laugh Riot

One of the greatest compliments I have ever received was that I can make people laugh, meaning that I can be funny not that I look funny although that may very well be true even if funny is not exactly the right adjective you might have in mind. I have to be with the right people to make them smile and if I was with a group of Trumpers I couldn’t take time out from severe intestinal distress to make anyone laugh. Too many Trumpers definitely makes Jack a dull boy and there’s nothing funny about it.

Sometimes I think I’m being funny and nobody else does, kind of like the Alvy Singer, Woody Allen character in Annie Hall, after he breaks up with Annie and he recreates the lobster scene with a new date and she thinks Woody Allen is overreacting and nothing is funny about it. I’ve met people like that, people with absolutely no sense of humor probably caused by severe abuse as a child, the kind of people who you think their faces would crack if they smiled.

I do think Woody Allen is the funniest person I’ve ever heard and I laugh just looking at him, but I wish he wasn’t a pedophile.

Some Woody Allen jokes:

* “After 12 years of regular sessions, my therapist said something that made me cry immensely. ‘No habla Ingles.’”

* “Don’t knock masturbation. ‘It’s sex with someone you love.”

* “Allan: ‘What are you doing Saturday night?’

Woman: ‘Committing suicide.’

Allan: ‘What about Friday night?’”

There are guffaws, giggles, belly laughs, chortling, chuckling, howling, roaring, snickering, snorting, tittering, nervous laughter, cruel laughter and laughter at someone else’s misfortune. Laughing is cultural, African Americans have long seen no humor in minstrel jokes; Native Americans think jokes about the trail of tears is as funny as a crutch; old people laugh at anything and they are not very discerning; Jews only think other Jews are funny.

Some people are never funny because they are too busy being mean and self-aggrandizing. Trump? Not funny unless you think he was funny when he waved his hands wildly to make fun of a disabled reporter. Ted Cruz? Not funny at all. Mitch McConnell? Impossible. Rand Paul? Never, ever. Lindsay Graham? A real scream. Kevin McCarthy? Stop torturing me. Devin Nunes? Dead silence. Matt Goetz? Funny but for the wrong reasons. Marjorie Taylor Greene? Now that is one funny lady, so shoot me now.

A smile is a frown turned upside down means that if you feel shitty, just stand on your head. Smiling is easier than frowning, supposedly it takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile. Smiling is really good and it makes you look younger because the wrinkles seem to vanish when you smile and it takes years off your life, although that doesn’t work for everybody. It obviously feels good and it takes us away from our cares, temporarily, so why don’t we do it more often rather than walking around solemn and sullen as we appear to be drowning in a sea of despair and Republican politics?

There is smiling because something is funny and smiling because something is appreciated, like the 3-year-old who waves at you while he’s walking with his mother at the WalMart; or the driver who waits to allow you to turn on Route 57; or the man in a car in front of you at the Dunkin Donuts who pays for your medium coffee and a bagel with cream cheese. I’ve done that for a stranger although once I asked the doughnut worker how much the tab was for the car behind me and she said it was about $11 and I decided to pay it forward another day.

Did the Nazis ever smile? I can’t imagine an atmosphere of levity, gaiety, frippery and frivolity while Goering is sitting around the dinner table with his cronies discussing the next step in the final solution. That’s when Himmler tells the joke about five Jews who walked into a gas chamber and one asked for a cigarette and the others said to stop smoking because smoking kills. The Nazis laughed. It was not funny.

Whoever came up with laugh tracks should be drawn and quartered because if someone has to tell me when something is funny then I would rather watch a documentary on curling.

My favorite comedian of all time wasn’t really a comedian but rather he brilliantly reflected the social ills of his time in a comic manner and that would be the tramp, Charlie Chaplin.

I like absurd humor and satirical humor, in particular, Monte Python, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Mel Brooks, John Cleese. I also like physical comedy like the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges and Buster Keaton although many people find pratfalls irritating at best and not funny in the slightest. The Little Rascals was funny but I don’t know what category to put them in.

One of the funniest shows ever was “Amos and Andy” which was the most politically incorrect show of all time and it was eventually cancelled, even though I thought it was a riot an simply lambasted the characters like other shows, such as The Honeymooners. And then there was “All in the Family” which made fun of political correctness in a time when that was accepted.

I did not like Bill Cosby, and I like him even less now, for obvious reasons; Don Rickles is obnoxious and made a career out of ridiculing others and making them feel bad, real funny, not; Bob Hope and Alan King always seemed to be not very talented and only got their material from talented writers; and Rodney Dangerfield was funny for a minute before the man who gets no respect became repetitive and old.

Comedy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Reader’s Digest did a poll in 2002 and this was the funniest joke ever, or not.

“Hunting gone wrong”

“Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He’s not breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls 911.

‘I think my friend is dead!’ he yells. ‘What can I do?’

The operator says, ‘Calm down. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’

There’s a silence, then a shot. Back on the phone, the guy says, ‘OK, now what?’”

“Humor that Works” ranked this as one of the funniest jokes of all:

“A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: ‘Ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!’ The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: ‘The driver just insulted me!’ The man says: ‘You go up there and tell him off. Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.’”

It all depends on who is listening to the joke. I think it’s totally not funny but if it makes you laugh, who am I to judge. So laugh more, even if it’s only because of a tickle.


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