Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What's So Funny?

Y'all know I am dark, mysterious and edgy, right? Some of you are even scared of me, yeah? No? Come on. Not even a little scared? You KNOW that is my goal in life! That and sexy and sleek... *nods*

My aspirations to be quirky and strange are... well... sort of the leftover result when I can't control myself? The result of not quite hitting that dark mysterious thing, so here I am, naked and awkward? But being me, I am practical and so thought, FINE. I will work with that. See... I don't MEAN to be funny. But the word is I am... And I guess if I can't be edgy and beautiful, funny is a pretty good alternative.

Today's blog is part of a Blog Carnival (which is like a festival, but you know... international) Christopher Allen is hosting it through the Language Place. The theme is really anything to do with humor. So I am analyzing my accidental humorousness and sharing a few places that make me laugh.


So back to the... I'm told I'm funny. And seriously, as suggested above, it wasn't really anything I tried for. Oh, sure. I suppose I'm easily amused... I do like to laugh. I particularly like to laugh WITH people... I love word play and innuendo.  Misattributing is even my superpower (you know... intentionally mishearing and responding to what you HEARD that is bizarre or funny, or IDEALLY, innuendo). Silliness in its purest form is good. (I even have a number of physical things I do that are funny, ranging from an egg drop off a diving board to my cartoon face).

But...

You know I am not a mainstream comedy fan for the most part. Sketch comedy often cracks me up, as do many comedians, but in the U.S. so much humor is based on either somebody being STUPID or somebody being MEAN. And I don't happen to think stupid or mean are funny. (except in the case of stupid people really proving smarter than the others—Phoebe from friends is a good example here, or in the case of mean people being seen by the AUDIENCE as shallow and low). I ALSO think much U.S. humor is very adolescent... I hate that (I would rather stick forks in my eyeballs than watch an Adam Sandler marathon). So why do I LOVE the French Taunters in Holy Grail waving their privates at people's aunties? Well now THAT is funny.

I guess maybe it comes down to the UNEXPECTED. And perhaps the British have a huge advantage there, because stiff upper lip and insane silliness fit so unexpectedly together, even your 427th time watching the Holy Grail.

But what I LOVE is understatement ['you keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.'] I love precious humor... think Dori in Finding Nemo... what is more precious than a fish friend and traveling companion with short-term memory issues (voiced by Ellen, no less). But yes, unexpected wins [“I bought it at a muggle store! I happen to like a little air about my privates!”--Archie from the Quiddich World Cup, Goblet of Fire]


So how does all this end up with ME being funny?

I don't actually try to be (though you might see redundancy is some sort of effort at it *shifty*). Most of the intentionally funny blogs I read are done by men. I have some blogs I LOVE: Cheeseboy's blog, or the Powdered Toast Man's. And they really are hysterical--intentional silliness. But I also have a number I read that I laugh at much of the time that are more sideways:

The Middle Ages: the FUNNY stuff is the overshare on life... the shared pain we do or WILL go through...
That's Why: the life difficulties... between unemployment, parenting, political climate...
Giraffability of Digressions: observations, both life and political...
The Quiddity of Delusions: okay, sometimes Mark is just plain bizarre, but man, oh man, I love him...
Guns and Giggles: a lot of life observations...
Procrastination Princess: Alright, Tara is a dose of straight silliness. But then she's a Taff...
Tartitude: My sister tart writes on life and writing... but in a falldown funny way.
I'm not Hannah: mostly about life, and the stuff that makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

[interesting. I just realized I would invite ALL of these people to stay in my home (not at the same time, my home is very small)--but shared humor is a very serious bond--I mean I have other blogger friends I would... But ALL the ones I rank as frequently funny?... I think for me it really helps me feel like I know someone well]

But notice MOST of this is just approach to normal life stuff. It is the things we all go through observed through a humorous slant... or even a shared pain slant. Whether it is the TMI thing I share with Deb, Barbara, Heather and Lisa, or the really sideways observations of Mari and Mary...

Most of it is stuff that would be HARD if we couldn't laugh about it.

I guess I think humor is an attitude. Or maybe even a decision. And it doesn't have to be mean-spirited, though I've been known to enjoy some sarcasm or snark if the target isn't really victimly...


I have guests who, when I suggest my readers are used to something a little bit funny, say... “Oh, I can't be funny.”

And maybe that's true. I don't know if some people just have such a solid hold on reality? Or maybe they listened too carefully to what is ladylike? But I think probably it is that the IDEA of 'funny' is intimidating. TRYING to be funny usually ends in awkward (and only a few of us really embrace awkward)... Erm... some people just have a serious approach to life. It's not bad... some of these more serious folks are quite helpful, and that is... you know, more helpful than I am. Most are very nice... in fact everyone I visit is SOME variation of pleasant. Or I wouldn't bother, yeh know?

But I guess for me, what I do well is play. And maybe playing is funny. It is certainly silly. I get the most laughs when I make fun of myself or what society perceives as proper, so there is that. I think the only trick I've ever applied to it is to turn off the filter. Anything can be deleted on revision, so writing whatever comes to mind OFTEN leads to a lot of nonsense. And sometimes that nonsense is funny. So there there you have it.

26 comments:

Tundiel said...

Uh oh. I guess that's my cue to dust off my blog, huh?

I'm glad we share the same sense of fun. :) And yeah, when I try to be funny, it usually doesn't work. Most of my silliness stems from my inability to take most things seriously. *coughs*

Cold As Heaven said...

I agree that stupid and mean doesn't make the best humor, but must admit I liked the Black Adder series. And absurdism can be very funny, for instance Catch 22; great book >:)

Cold As Heaven

Siv Maria said...

There are few things better than a good laugh. If you can laugh at yourself once a day that is a good start :) WIll check out those blogs that I do not already follow.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You do humor very well, Hart. And who couldn't laugh at Monty Python?

Old Kitty said...

NAKED humour is always most welcome!
:-)

Take care
x

Will Burke said...

Rolling-with-the-moment humor seems to work better than pre-planned, but hats-off to the dry English wit. I laugh my ass off at R. Downey Jr's Sherlock Holmes.
I'd agree that sarcasm needs the right audience; as in among irreverent friends who can take it on the chin. It certainly shouildn't be one's go-to strategy.
I've got a new home: http://will-somewhatepic.blogspot.com/

Hart Johnson said...

Tara--darned tootin! Get that thing dusted! (and YAY for common humor!)

CaH--yeah, I like Black Adder, too... the snark is just so ridiculous that you can ignore the meanness...

Siv--very good philosophy!

Alex-thank you!!!

Jenny-Absolutely!

Will--I really want to see those Sherlocks but haven't yet! And I will get your new digs in order!

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

the science of funny is so mind-boggling. what makes things funny? i like your discoveries here- bad humor= mean or stupid, and good humor coming from unexpected or awkward.

i mishear and respond to things wrong all the time... perhaps it's time for a hearing aide?

Colene Murphy said...

You make some good points about what's funny. And you are funny! Oh...Princess Bride reference. Makes me want to watch it. Love.

SP Sipal said...

Totally agree with you about the inability to sit through mean or stupid humor. A few years ago, I found myself in a theater to watch Eddie Murphey's Norbit without having read the reviews. Both incredibly stupid and mean. Because of the group I was with, I couldn't just get up and leave. The most painful two hours of my life!

But good humor, like the kind you describe, Hart, can rejuvenate the soul! :-)

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

What's funny about you? You don't try to be anything that you're not.
I've learned so much from your successes and the things that drive you nuts. Learning and laughing "with you" is great fun.

Now I've got to check out the couple of blogs on your list I've missed. I'm honored at the mention and the company.

Clarissa Draper said...

I like your idea of fun. And your blog is one of the funniest on the net. The blogs your mentioned, most are on my list for the same reason.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

wait. wait. I notice The Bloggess was not on your list. Do you not read her? IF not, you need to fix that IMMEDIATELY. Seriously. She's so funny.

Misha Gericke said...

Yeah... the funniest comment I got about my humor: "... Misha."
"Yes?"
"You're actually funny!"
I couldn't help laughing. I mean, yes, I know he meant it as a compliment, but it was a little insulting that he acted like I kept it a big secret.

British humor is by far superior to American, in my opinion.

Mainly, I like my humor dark and bitter, which might be why the above guy missed my skills. He strikes me as a slapstick type.

:-)

Jan Morrison said...

Funny is good, as is play,and as you say not so much with mean-spirited humour. That's why my favourite joke is about a pig, a farmer and a travelling insurance salesman. Nobody gets hurt. In my other job as a therapist, I know if someone is basically going to get over their present obstacle by how much humour they allow in. Humour, to me, is the ability to have a vast enough view and an ability to let go of convention and see how damn hilarious everything is. Thanks for being a part of my sane world.

Al said...

Wow someone who has watched Holy Grail more often than me!
I have to say that I don't understand most American humour. I guess you are right on the mean or stupid score.

Hart Johnson said...

Vic-your goal rambling the other day was right up there in the hysterical department!

Colene-I ADORE Princess Bride!

Susan-OUCH! I have to suffer some of that, having a 13 year old son and a husband with a sort of morose sense of humor, but ACK!

Clarissa-thank you!

Sarah-you know, I HAVE read her, and I love her stuff--very funny... Ally, too (Hyperbole and a half) but they are sort of... you know... a level above or something... not real people? Okay, so I know they ARE, but they are sort of already famous? If that makes sense...

Misha-I can really enjoy dark and bitter, too, provided it is self or life directed instead of at others--the other-directed depends completely on how much power the target has.

Jan-interesting observation about humor in relation to therapy! The Interrupting cow is my favorite joke, but it's hard to do in writing.

Al-I GET most of it. I just don't think it's funny... maybe that is the part you don't get... why anyone thinks it is?

Hart Johnson said...

Doh!

Mary, I missed you!

Of COURSE you are included! (and it is good company, eh?) Thank you so much!

Carol Kilgore said...

Or as Forrest Gump would say: Funny is as funny does.

Life's way too short to not at least smile about things that happen every day.

Helena said...

The older I get, the more desperately I need humor. And yes, Hart, you are a very funny lady -- but how many times have you seen Holy Grail? Wow.

Carol Riggs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Riggs said...

Oh yes, humor is often an attitude and a decision. A way of looking at life. Yes--if you try too hard, you're usually not funny (people in general, not you personally!). ;o)

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Well, I don't know about you being edgy and sleek, but I do know that you are beautiful and very funny.

I liked Phoebe too, and I know what you mean about the mean part of humor that passes for comedy these days.

Great post, Hart, and Happy New Year to you and your family. :>)

Kathy M.

Christopher Allen said...

Great post! Thank you for participating in the blog carnival! It's live at I Must Be Off! now.

M.J. Nicholls said...

I never thanked you for the blog share (or the extra plural), did I? Thanks! I'm extremely hard to please with humour (though I will begrudgingly laugh my head off at a hamster falling out a wheel, then feel AWFUL).

michelleelvy said...

Great to have a funny month. Thanks to Christopher and the bloggers who are involved this month. This one made me laugh. :)