“If it wasn’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.”
-Lewis Black quoting a stranger overheard
Seriously, of all the things to be grateful for this one ranks up there. It is in the top five easily. The world can throw so much crap at you sometimes. You watch the news, have a bad day at work, your toilet backs up, and a million other things go wrong. All you really have to do though, to make it seem a little less bad, maybe even forget about it all together, is find something, anything, that makes you laugh. Maybe it’s a TV show. Maybe it’s a movie. Maybe it’s listening to your favorite comic. That last one is usually my choice.
I have had so many favorites over the years. My all time most loved comic would have to be Bill Hicks. I won’t go on too much about him, because I have posted about him in the past. Most of my other top ten are also passed on: George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, Phyllis Diller. I have learned to appreciate Louis CK, and have always loved Rita Rudner (“my grandmother asked me when she was going to be a great-grandmother and I told her ‘when you do something exceptional.'”) My favorite living comic would have to be Lewis Black, quoted above.
It is pretty obvious from the selection above that I have a thing for comics that have no problem making you uncomfortable. I don’t much care for those who shock for shocks sake. Sarah Silverman forgets her white privilege when she does black face (it wasn’t funny 100 years ago and it is less so now.) Tosh can take his rape jokes and shove them firmly up his ass. No, I want a comic that makes me actually think. Even if it is a truth I did not want to see to begin with. Dennis Miller was one of those before he lost his mind.
Ultimately though, the important thing is that they make me laugh. The world can seem so grim and humorless sometimes. This is especially true when you are an activist, or if you write about the serious subjects I do. So while I appreciate and prefer the more highbrow, intelligent humor, sometimes a pie in the face is just what the doctor ordered. Give me a good fart joke after having twenty doors slammed in my face, and I will do just fine.
So today my gratitude goes out to the clowns, the jesters, the pranksters, the trickster, or, as Mel Brooks put it, the stand up philosophers. I don’t think any of us could make it through our yearly grind without them. So keep on making us laugh and as Robin Williams said many, many years ago: joke ’em if they can’t take a fuck.
- Staying Present and in Gratitude (jandeelstra.com)
- Conan O’Brien previews hour-plus chat with the ‘relentless’ Mel Brooks – EXCLUSIVE VIDEO (popwatch.ew.com)
- Make ’em Laugh: The Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time (beckchris.wordpress.com)
- 5 Great Comedy Acts You Need To See Now (wembli.com)