“Puckie,” said she, pointing an accusing finger. “Get your snoot oot.”
I chuckled about this like a halfwit for, I kid you not, a whole week. You know when you get those deep, uncontrollable gurgles – that arrive for no obvious reason and usually at inappropriate times? When you recall a comment, a passage in a book or even a glance, years later, and can be sent off into quiet spasms for days? I suffer from this affliction often, because as I say, I’m not the full quid.
What makes things funny? I’ve been musing on this idea for a while now, as, (don’t laugh), one day I would like to make a living from making people laugh. Oh, I don’t mean as a contender in the Darwin Awards: Brunswick Woman Dies after Choking on Ironic Haircut. But…you know….like writing or movies or comics or something.
I should probably pay more attention to this stuff, although I hope I’ll never become one of those creatures who take their comedy ‘very seriously.’ Like with a season pass to the Melbourne Comedy Festival and knowing every line in the Simpsons and whatnot. Those people who laugh loudly as if to say “I know what the joke is here – not everyone does, but I DO.” The kind of snorting, obvious laugh that’s more a cry for attention than any genuine expression of mirth. I do not like those people.
Humour is, well, a funny thing. The minute you try to pull it apart, the meaning disappears and in some way, you ‘destroy’ what made it zing in the first place (hence this post).
I noticed this during my regular stalking schedule of Jemaine Clement. I found a totally hilarious video called Foux de Fa Fa, what I took to be a pisstake on high school French classes, and the kind of cheesy hypercolour outfits featured in ‘Le Domino’, favoured magazine of Madame L’Amour. C’est amusante, non?
However the appeal was lost on many of the, oh 1,660 commenters, and WITHIN SECONDS the screen my lost in a red mist of irritation. The Frenchies didn’t like it, because it was ‘making fun of French people.’ The incorrect use of French was picked over, again and again…then someone felt the need to list all the movie references in it, just in case someone out there needed to be reminded of their inadequacy regarding Frog cinema theory (this was also a lesson never to read the comments on YouTube ever again).
Sometimes things are even funnier when the humour is missed, and the chance to make a good gag sails past like the Enterprize in a stiff breeze. Our dagwood dog of a PM missed a golden opportunity the other week, after an inopportune chunder:
“I think it was a party pie, something like that, a savoury something,” Mr Rudd told reporters. “All I know is whether it was that, or whether it was a stomach bug, the consequences were graphic.”
Is there anything more hysterical than vomit? Has anyone forgotten the hilarity of Bush’s Big Spit on the Japanese PM? Journos know this, and gave him every chance to make the most of it:
Mr Rudd said he did not need a food taster. “No, we won’t be putting that cost on the taxpayers,” he said.
What a dick. Vomit has to be one of the funniest things in the world. It’s like an extreme form of laughter. For all his ratifying of this and apologising for that, no comedy will ever drop from those lips of string. God I miss PJK. Politicians have much to learn from that great lady novelist Virginia Henley: “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
Then there’s the unintentional humour (that’s always funny ’til someone loses an eye).
Although I do my best to make this blogge entertaining, my best efforts happen involuntarily. I was supposed to ‘look funny’ when trying to play that most nerdy of instruments, the French Horn. Apparently I ‘run funny’ when playing the Queen of Sports, netball. And my niece once said, “Aunty Boo you’re funny” (although I think she meant as in ‘you are the weird Aunty’).
At a friend’s recent Sydney wedding I was asked to do a reading. I agreed, preparing to sock off some rhyming couplets (the only poetry I’m capable of) or even a few quotes from Oliver Reed on relationships. However she sent me a very naff poem about ‘gazing mistily into each other’s eyes’ and ‘stepping tremulously onto the stage of wedlock’ or somesuch.
I palpitated quietly for days, knowing that whatever spin I put on it, people would think I was laughing at their relationship, or having a spinsterly dig at the institution of marriage. The last thing you want to do at someone’s wedding, yeah? So when the moment arrived I recited the cheesy poem with gusto; I gesticulated and declaimed and raised my voice to the hordes. I gave it all the genuine emotion I had. However everyone laughed and cheered the whole way through – and the bride came up afterwards and thanked me heartily for my efforts, because she ‘knew I would do something funny like that’. Bitch.
My career is littered with such tales.
This has led me to ask the eternal question: what is the point? Why was I plonked unceremoniously on this planet? What’s with all the self-indulgent rambling? I hope that I’ll not be penned up in ad agencies when I’m ancient, poring over high-gloss proofs, muttering bitterly about apostrophes until I cark it. I’m hopeful all these adventures are leading up to something.
I had yet another comically, hysterically bad date on the weekend. It was so funny in fact that I was forced to ponder: ‘do I just stagger around the globe to cock things up and gladden people’s hearts? Does this all happen for the amusement of others?’ Dave Hughes has made a career out of his comic failures! I was going to keep it to myself, but no…it’s too good, it reads like a script, it must be shared:
Although my date had all the appearance of an OK bloke, he had invited his territorial ex-girlfriend to the BBQ. I did not know this at the time. The minute she stalked in I thought: ‘gosh she looks like me.’ Brown, frizzy hair piled up on top of her head. Big tits. Chicken legs. Strident – but not in a charming way like your humble blogger, hem hem.
Then her boyfriend walked in. He was the spitting image of my date – they talked and acted like brothers, and yakked about motorbike racing all night. All our names were similar – they all began with ‘R’. The ex gave me the hairy eyeball and began to make the most outrageous, inappropriate remarks. She loudly complained about my date’s last date, in that she was blonde, she was boring, and she arrived too late. She did not make the effort to talk with them. “POTENTIALS need to make an EFFORT to get to KNOW US,” she said heatedly.
Then my date disappeared for an hour and a half to pick up a married friend, and left me alone with these hounds! Without telling me! I was up in the hills; I had no wheels. I saw that the only option left was to enjoy myself at their expense. I strafed them with the ole Boo charisma, and had them eating my pumpkin and goats cheese salad out of my hands. They asked questions about how we met, and I said, “just at a party – I don’t know him at all!” The ex shrieked about my having no car, and asked how I was getting home. “Oh I’m staying the night!” said I happily, to sudden silence.
She cornered me in the kitchen to assess my physique. ‘From the waist up’ was declared ‘fantastic’. She went on to tell me her breast size, that my date was a ‘tit man’, and that when they were going out, he couldn’t leave her boobs alone. “He’ll like yours,” she noted. Finally I realised why there was such an avalanche of indiscretion. Mistaken identity! The big switcheroo!! She confessed that she’d thought I was the other mate – the married girl who never arrived, in the end.
Now that’s funny.