The Nature of Comedy

Sunday, March 15, 2009

On the elevator-thing this morning some punk-toddler was pointing at me as if he’s never seen a dinosaur before.  His mother leaned in and whispered, “Don’t point.”

Don’t point?  Humans are fascinating.  Where along the way did human society decide it was rude to point?  I decided to point back.

His mother gave me a look that would have made a blood-lusted Mel Gibson in The Patriot want to stick a thumb in his ass and run back crying to his mother (so now pointing is rude, but it’s okay to dagger-eyes someone?).  She was beyond livid.

This strange elevator meeting got me thinking—where does the humor stop and the offensive begin?  There has always been a symbiotic relationship between the two—comedy and abuse.  It’s the difference between biting and chewing.  The only difference between these two scenarios is a shift in perception. 

The reason why it’s so hard to flirt successfully with the line that divides comedy and abuse is because that line is ever-changing.  Maybe it isn’t even a line (the line probably looks more like a circle, the line probably looks more like two circles with a tree trunk between them, the line probably looks more like two circles with a tree trunk and a bulge at the end, blast it—I’m trying to draw a metaphoric penis in your imagination but I don’t think it’s working).  Note: if drawing an imaginary penis on the memory-walls of your brain was offensive, I apologize.  As you can tell from this post, I have no idea where humor ends and offense begins. 8===D (Aaagh!  I couldn’t resist!)

I think ultimately there are things about society that go unsaid.  When we discover these wisdom-gems we’re like a child turning a mossy rock over on it’s head, exposing millions of ants to the world.  Comedy or uncivility—the difference hinges upon what we do with that discovery and how we communicate it.  There are two approaches:

  1. We can take out a magnifying glass and move our heads in for a closer look.  We can sit fascinated by the majesty of life for hours, reveling in our newfound discovery.  We remain interested and see the beauty because our goal was the discovery in itself.  The comedian-explorer will share his discovery with a friend and the two Seinfeld-Magellans can sit indian-styled happily and laugh about how the ants move, laugh about their decidedly unwavering diligence, laugh about how small they are in the greater web of life; but they do not touch.  The comedy-beauty comes from the shift in perception.
  2. We can take out a magnifying glass and position the instrument of perceptual-clarity in such a way that the sun is filtered through its focal point so that we can wreak armageddon upon the ant community beneath the mossy stone.  We become fascinated and see the beauty because our goal was the power afforded to us by the discovery.  The raider-explorer will share his discovery with a friend and the two Genghis-Columbuses can dance around the unturned mossy stone like animals from Lord of the Flies and laugh about how they ambushed the ants, laugh about the power of their discovery and their gift of superiority in the hierarchy of animals as if abusing that dominance comes with the territory; they do more than merely watch the ants, they burn them.  The comedy-destruction comes from the shift in perception.

I should have corrected the woman in the elevator who advised her child not to point.  Pointing is okay.  Pointing is beautiful.  Pointing is a mark of discovery!  It’s touching that is mean-spirited.  One points to share, whereas one touches to distort.

Dear reader: turn over the unturned stone, speak the unsaid words, unmask the masked face!  That is where you will find your comedy.  But be mindful of how you shed the mask, because your approach will determine if the face beneath the mask is smiling or frowning.

Jason “Bones” Boneasaurus



What Say You (5)

Mike Gioia wrote at 6:13am Apr 2
Nothin like a wiener to sign out on
Heather Reyes wrote at 7:25am Mar 23
very deep
mike wrote at 11:26pm Jan 23
balls deep
Bebo wrote at 7:57am Aug 29
It's better to keep money saved, or have a fund, for mdecial expenses. I paid about $200 or so from the last injury I suffered out of pocket, and I bet you more than anything that it was better than paying 3 times as much on an insurance plan.Getting insurance wouldn't be a bad idea if you're involved in a high-risk profession however, but many of us really aren't lol. Hell, my car insurance even covers mdecial bills to a certain extent(and fittingly auto-driving is a high risk activity)!
Julia wrote at 11:58am Aug 29
Were they ever an actual coplue? I don't think so, but they sure look good together. Of course, Jean Harlow would look good next to anybody ...

Leave Some Love