A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog got me to thinking about what makes me laugh. Jack posted this bit from Steven Wright – “Right now I’m having amnesia and deja vu at the same time… I think I’ve forgotten this before.”
I remember really liking Wright’s humor and his ability to deliver it deadpan. Here are examples of some of his best routines – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9ciHpT4WuM
I grew up on a different kind of humor, the monologues and routines of Milton Berle, Sid Caesar and Red Skelton come to mind. Of course there was also George Burns, who used deadpan delivery and Groucho Marks, who off-hand and sarcastic remarks I found funny. One of the earlier wordsmithing comics that I remember was George Carlen, who could take a single word or theme and turn it into a whole routine. George suffered through the period in TV where the sensors restricted what he could say or at least what we could see of what he said. Here’s some of his best routines.
I especially like comedians who play with words or whose humor forces one to think about what was just said and consider why we thought that was funny.
Some people prefer physical comedy, with prat falls or other visual things that tickle our funny bone. All of the early, silent film humor was based upon visual humor, since we couldn’t hear any funny lines. The Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello,and Martin and Lewis were more modern comedic teams that still relied quite a bit on the visual aspect in their humor. On the Carol Burnet Show, the humor of Tim Conway really came through when he was portraying the little old man shuffling as fast as he could from place to place. He always broke up Harvey Korman with that routine. Me, too.
Here are some of Tim’s best routines from that show – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me-BOWwtm2Q
I think we all need a little humor in our lives. Being too serious all of the time is a sure formula for health problems. Laughter allows us to break the tension of everyday life and, just for those few moments, get back to the innocence that we had as children. So find something that makes you laugh and take some time each day to go there and let go – laugh.
What makes you laugh?