Feb 14, 2023, 05:55AM

So Funny, I Forgot to Laugh

I don’t know who said what, but nothing can stop you when you’re on a roll.

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Who said, “It takes a lot to laugh, but it takes a mountain to cry?” Some whack job zealot. Or was it a boatload of tears? So, it takes a mountain to laugh, and a train to cry? Can you hear that lonesome whistle blow? The midnight train is whining low. Sorry, I forgot to laugh. Bring the mountain to Mohammed, or castles made of sand tumble. It’s all discordant words on my reality sandwiches. It’s funny, you know. The moon just went behind a cloud to hide his head, and I’m so lonesome I could cry or blow my brains out. For now, I’ll just sob quietly in my beer and leave the jokes to the comedians. Or, as my dear departed Auntie use to say, the commodians. That shit ain’t very funny. Was it a joke? It doesn't float. I forgot to flush. Where’s the plunger? Anybody got a stage hook? The old bum’s rush. A hackneyed act if I ever did see one.

I don’t know who said what, but nothing can stop you when you’re on a roll. A spicy hot mustard routine where there’s never any punchline, and you’re the hot dog schtupping the donut. All the jokes are bad. Cooking with gas, baby. Lukewarm comedy. Sad sacks ignore your puns, sucking down booze. Staring into their cocktails. What a sick sense of humor, there you are, the center of attention, yammering to an empty room. The audience walked out a few minutes into the set, along with the bartender. And there you stand, alone under one dim spotlight, surrounded by darkness.

The show must go on, but it isn’t funny anymore. It’s a sin to tell a lie, even worse to make jokes about it. Maybe not a mortal sin, but definitely in poor taste. Bad timing. Perhaps leave it to the professionals? They always know what they’re doing, with exquisite timing. Or at least try to. But, hell no, we get the double-talking sidewinder two-faced lingo stomp out the side of their face. The kind of dance only dunces do. They could sell farts to any stinking asshole. Not a single heckler in the crowd. Plenty of rubes and stooges, though. Find your mark. Kill ‘em softly with comedy.

Whatever you do, don’t stop. Don’t let them know you’re scared. So terrified, you’re standing there bombing, knocking the crap right out of you. Breathless. Feeling a bit woozy, stumbling around the stage. Here’s a fella who’s based his entire career on stealing material. Like no one ever noticed. No personality, no rapport, no style or grace, no life at all. Just deadpan delivery. That’s kinda funny. Up there in the glare, kicking out the footlights. No chutzpah, balls, or moxie. Greasepaint smeared in a grotesque scowl. You’re killing it. Hoots and hollers, bestial jeers and moronic taunts, whistles and screaming from the peanut gallery can’t stop you now. This is awkward at best. 

Don’t let them ruffle your feathers. Not exactly a magic moment, but you’re looking good for a fossil. Doing the same shtick for over 50 years. A relic of the past where the best was never good enough for an audience of one. Namely, you. A bit player in the story of your life.

The science of comedy and why laughter’s crucial to its success is always the subject of a hypotenuse triangulation of too many hypotheses. It’s part of performance in how your delivery is achieved. There are many theories, as there are jokes and jokesters. To poke fun at the misfortunes of others, or the self-deprecation of your own dilemmas. Exposing wankers, schlubs, taboos, forbidden beliefs and emotions in a delicate balance of subtle satire, nuances of in-your-face observations on concepts that defy all natural explanations. So funny that you kick your own butt twice a day. Comparing apples and oranges to dollars and donuts is a farce. Sometimes you just laugh at nothing for no good reason. I repeat, it ain’t funny anymore.

I don’t know what you think is so damn funny. Maybe it’s something to do with the way you walk or dress. Possibly how you talk or dance. You’re funny looking, too. Giving the glad hand with those mitts, you can hurt yourself and anyone within reach with those meat beaters. You’re scratching the existential itch. Hamming it up with a hambone grin. You do that for a living? Now, that’s funny!


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