Erma Bombeck became a big favorite of mine when I discovered her newspaper column in the 1980s. I also read some of her books which I found to be very funny; but as funny as I think her work is, there are others who may not. I suppose if all humans had the same personality, including sense of humor, we’d be virtual robots.
In my family, there are times when we all laugh together and of course, times when we don’t. For example: Most people who’ve seen the long running TV show from the 1950s, I Love Lucy, laugh a lot when watching it. On a marathon Saturday, when one episode after another is aired, my husband and children sit, watch a couple shows, and have the best fun. Me… no. It wasn’t one of my favorites as a child and has never been a “gotta stop and watch” show for me. I recognize that Lucille Ball was a comedic genius and I’ve had many laughs from the show, however, it’s not high on my list of best comedies. Interestingly, I’d do better watching a Carol Burnett rerun, someone who also does physical comedy.
The sense of humor factor gave me cause for thought after reading an article in the Huffington Post about a woman who does the happy dance at the bus stop on the first day of school. This year as the bus rolled away with her two sons in tow, Mom (Tracy Moutafis) danced to Bye, Bye, Bye by NSYNC. I totally “got it.” Years ago when most of my neighbors (on the street of my previous house) had small kids, one of the moms let out a yell that could probably be heard a couple blocks away as the bus became a yellow speck down the street. Even I got caught up in the dance thing when my last one went to kindergarten, though I limited it to 3 seconds and had no music accoutrement.
After laughing at the video and smiling while reminiscing, I read some of the comments. While many felt as I did, the other half commented with these responses and more that are worse: “She might not be embarrassed, but her kids will be!,” “One day her children will dance as they bring her to the old age home, ever close to that life insurance money,” “God forbid but how proud of this video is this lady gonna be if something bad happened at school and that child did not come home off that bus that she was publicly celebrating him getting on,” and “What a shameless cow.”
Did I miss something?
Okay, I realize that the dance celebration would not be funny to everyone—especially new moms; but to get so worked up?
So you might say that a bit of pushing the envelope makes me laugh. Raunchiness – No. Other people like corny jokes and acts. I like that, too, but it might not give me a gut busting laugh. And jokes that are too long tend to lose me. Physical comedy is good when paired with a good line or two, like seeing someone demonstrate how they used the squat toilet in India for the first time—funny!
It’s not just professional comedy that I’m speaking of. It’s the unplanned conversations with family and friends that elicit some of the best laughs, because we all know that the quasi ridiculousness of life provides us with some very good material.
What makes you laugh? What’s your brand of humor?
image from Microsoft clipart