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Friday, May 12, 2017

Waiting for the Comedy

My shoes? Bernie Madoff with them.

how I got to be funny. The truth is, I don't really know. Because I like the out-of-control, exhilarating feeling and sound of laughter, I have always tried to do, say or draw things to elicit it. I could never even fall in love with someone unless he provoked me to laugh. But other than that, I have no notion of where funniness actually comes from or what causes certain people to have it while others do not. We all actually have a funny bone. The only thing funny about the funny bone, though, is that it's not a bone at all. It's a nerve–the ulna nerve–and that weird sensation you feel when you bump your elbow against something is the ulna hitting up against the elecrenon. So it might cause you to feel funny, but not to be funny.

While recently pondering funniness, I thought back to an anecdote Papa Bisgood told me some years ago about taking his little girls, Oddie and Babe, my aunt and my mother, to the Sag Harbor Cinema (which unfortunately recently burned down.) Every Saturday he would buy each of them a chocolate bar at the concession stand. As soon as the lights dimmed and the newsreel came on the screen, my Auntie Oddie would noisily open her candy and swiftly eat it. But Babe would just sit quietly, watching the newsreel, chocolate bar resting in her lap. Papa would lean over and say to her, "Babe, what's the matter, don't you like your candy bar?" My mother replied that she did, but was waiting for the comedy to start before eating it. Sure enough, as soon as the comedy started, and not a second before, my mother unwrapped her chocolate and commenced eating it. Alternately laughing at Popeye and Olive Oil and eating the chocolate, she made the bar last through the entire comedy.

I would have a really nice way of wrapping up this post if Babe had turned out to be a standup comic, but due to the smattering of journalistic honesty in me, I must tell you that she did not. She became a nurse. How embarrassing–thanks to my mother's non-risible career choice I have no clue as to how I can conclude this ...except...wait a's coming...

except ... EXCEPT ... that I finally have an answer to that baffling question about the origins of funniness. Yeah, I believe that in my sample of one I have proven beyond a scientific doubt that eating chocolate bars while watching a comedy leads to funniness. If my thesis is correct, you are probably asking yourself right now, "Then, why wasn't your mother funny?" That's easy to explain. Funniness skips a generation. That's why I'm funny! Thanks for having the discipline to wait for the comedy, Mom.

(Note to self) Great, now I have to draw a cartoon funny enough to support my candy bar thesis.

And my advice to you, dear reader, is to eat a chocolate bar while reading it.

PS If you don't think the above cartoon is funny, perhaps my thesis is slightly off and funniness actually skips two generations.