The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Find the humor

On October 23rd, 2017, posted in: Just Because, Uncategorized by

dog wearing funny eyeglasses with fake eyebrows and noseI asked a friend of mine at church the other day how she liked her coffee.  She replied “with lipstick.”  It caught my funny bone and I busted a gut laughing.  In humor, timing is everything.  Her response was perfectly timed.  What also made it funny was that she did not intend for it to be funny.  Her wit was spontaneous—the best kind.  My guess is that she wouldn’t or couldn’t tell a joke—it’s not her style.

Later in the day, I heard a commercial on the radio.  Again, quick-witted and spontaneous, the announcer noted that lobster is just a reason to eat melted butter.  Well, it caught me again as very funny.

I do love humor.  I’m not into joke telling.  They’re usually not near as funny as the quick-hitting, anecdotal happenings of living life.  Life provides enough humor without jokes.  We don’t need to sit at a desk and attempt to construct a joke.  What comes out of my grandson’s mouth is much funnier than anything that starts with “a guy with a parrot walks into a bar…”  Life is what’s funny, or so I thought.

I heard it said that a common thread that runs through comedy is that first there has to be tragedy.  I guess dealing with a tragedy allows for one to gain perspective that otherwise might not have been seen.  I guess a trigger reaction to having comedy running through your bloodline is to find the humor in everything—including tragedy.  Well, if tragedy lights the comic flame, we should be ablaze.

Personally, I cringe when the world’s all too frequent tragedies make their way onto the stand-up stage, the daily radio show, or nightly talk shows.  I don’t need tragedy to find comedy.  I find comedy in the daily lives of each of us.  Sadly, many people do not find humor in life’s regular happenings.  Today, comedy is held back at the risk of offending someone.  Anecdotal and humorous storytelling has to pass political correctness.  Too many times, it does not.

Are we at a paradigm shift in the world of comedy?  Because audiences have become so sensitive and easily offended, comic superstars like Jerry Seinfeld have stopped working college campuses.  Others have pulled back as well.  Reasoning is simple:  Why run the risk of making half the audience mad and being excoriated by the subsequent tirades and bad press facilitated by social media unhinged? There is nothing funny about that.

Every product that enters the market is looking for mass appeal.  The comedy “product” is no different.  But, it would seem as though, we’re at a place where a comic’s respective following would be specific to his/her brand of politics, beliefs, etc.  Comedy has become a niche market.  The comedy categories in year’s past were two-fold:  clean or dirty.  Now, based on any number of societal factors, comedy is carved into many smaller sub-parts and compartments.  Very few comedians have mass appeal.

Johnny Carson would not have mass appeal today—neither would George Carlin.  Recently passed Don Rickles would have no chance—neither would Richard Pryor.  All comic legends—each of which would stir the pot.  Today, these geniuses would either have to tamp down the context of their humor or run the risk of being the lead story on the evening news for all of the wrong reasons.

The tragedy today is the lack of humor held by so many.

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