Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A to Z: Just Joking

When I was around 7, my mother took me and some friends to the movies to see Peter Sellers in The Party. We laughed until we cried, until it hurt to laugh, and we didn't want to laugh anymore but we just couldn't stop. The movie sticked in my mind as the funniest movie ever.

Skip forward almost a decade. My high school sweetheart, his best friend, and I are browsing for a good movie at a video rental place (this is the late eighties--no DVDs, but I think we'd graduated from Beta to VHS). On a shelf at the back I catch a glimpse of Sellers' trademark goofy face. The Party.

"This one! Guys, this one--it's so good."

I was so psyched--I'd get to see this fantastic move again, and I'd get to share its laugh-till-it-hurts stuff with my sweetie. So you can imagine my flabbergasted-ness that he and his buddy laughed but once in the hour or so of the movie.


At a bit I hadn't found that funny to begin with.

I admit, my sense of humor isn't mainstream. I constantly laugh myself out of breath over stuff that leaves others merely smiling (and vice versa). So perhaps it's me (it's not you). But I think there's something more here.

My dad was a practical joker. He went to all sorts of extremes to set up a joke for someone--who usually didn't find it the least bit amusing. But my dad didn't care. The world was his entertainment, and he enjoyed it fully. If you didn't like the joke, or got upset about it (yeah, a lot of people did), he only laughed harder--and retold the story over and over to anyone who'd listen.

My mother hated it. Why she married the man is something not even she understands.

The point is, humor follows no rules. What makes someone laugh isn't necessarily even smile-able for someone else. But--hear me now--it's very important that you find at least one person that shares your sense of humor. Keep them close, once you find them.

Laughing--belly-ache hard--is a gift for yourself. For your body, for your spirit. But if you share it... Well, then, it becomes a gift also for the world.

What makes you laugh?


  1. Great post and so true about laughter coming differently to different people. As a humor writer, I see among my close family and friends those who laugh out loud at my work and those who read the same piece and just smile and say, "That was cute."

    I'm never offended, that's just how humor works.

    1. Cindy, of *course*--you'd know this better than anyone. I can also imagine at IWW with different critiques you get different senses of humor. Some people laugh out loud, some people just think, "huh, nice". Cracks me up to think of that happening--the "huh, nice" reaction to one of your really great scenes... Like the buffalo chase (still makes me laugh *every* time I think about it). Somehow, the fact that others may not find something like that universally hilarious makes it even funnier to me :)

  2. I love when I find someone who laughs, or even smiles, at the same thing(s) I do -- one of the best feelings in the world.

    What makes me laugh? Things that are clever and that take me by surprise. I love subtlety. But I also love larger-than-life buffoons. Two fairly polarized sources of humor!

    Really enjoyed this post. And what a great King quote.

    1. I agree, Suze--best feeling in the world. Sounds like your humor and mine might be similar :D Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I'll have to check out that Peter Sellers movie, I love him. I'm very lucky that my husband and I have the same sense of humor (most of the time). Sometimes I am more into drier humor while he occasionally laughs at people stepping on rakes. Still, the first time we really belly-laughed together was when I knew I was in love with him.

    1. Janna, it's a *fantastic* movie, still one of my favorites, and one of the first DVDs I bought. Sellers at his clumsy best, truly.

      I totally get what you mean about the first belly-laugh together. Laughter like that totally leads to love--or best-friendship, haha. Glad you found him!

  4. This is yet another reason why I LOVE my mom, beyond all reason. She thinks I'm the funniest person alive. I can make her laugh in a second. I'm always laughing at something or other. Sometimes I think about something funny and I laugh while walking down the street. Humour interests me - in the psychological sense.

  5. This is a great blog! (hi!). My husband and I have a very different sense of humor. But they are strong, and when they do overlap it like silver dollars from heaven!

  6. I followed you over from the A to Z Challenge. Your blog has a nice friendly layout.
    Laughing is so good for the soul. I love to laugh. There are even scenes in thriller movies that make me laugh. Theme: A World of Crime

  7. My husband is great with the one liners and the puns - he's quick-witted like that. Me, not so much. But I appreciate it in him. He makes me laugh and laugh... :)

    Happy A-Z!

  8. I laugh at really weird things as well, but the thing that makes me most consistently laugh is when someone says something inane or ridiculous in a very serious manner or takes a situation way too seriously when they don't need to. It's probably why some of my favorite characters are very uptight. It's got to be the contrast between the reality of the situation and the way the observer perceives it that's getting me.

  9. I was reading with great interest this post, as only a day ago I wrote a poem and added a couple of lines in a Peter Sellers voice, taken from the film. That is to say I highlighted the phrase as if the character from that film were saying it.

    A couple of years ago I walked the Camino de Santiago From St Jean Pied du port until Finesterra in Spain. Along the way I met and befriended a girl from the north of Spain who was also walking. We struck up a nice friendship and occasionally she would sing to me. Edith Piaf, Billy Holiday type things and she had a wonderful voice.

    Quite by accident one day I began speaking with a very strong Pakistani accent, and I had never had anyone react the way she did. She literally fell about laughing. I carried on jibing and she had to sit down before she fell over, she was laughing that much. (To be honest I didn't get why at first) but I enjoyed responding to her need to release some tears of joy.
    She then explained that it (the millionaire) was one of her favourite films ever...
    She wasn't your typical Senorita either, culturally... More of a golden era French style, or Picasso esque girl. Anyway I remember vaguely seeing this film as a kid. I promised I would watch the film, but as yet only seen a few youtube clips. If you know where it will be showing I would love to see it...

    So blimey, giddy god, vat am I sayin, isn't it??

    Thank you for pleasant trip down memory lane...xx

  10. I have a dry wit; my husband loves slapstick. We meet somewhere in the middle and laugh until the tears fall. Loved your post, Gullie. I'm happy you found me.

  11. Ha! I instantly laughed at seeing this post. My hubby made me watch it a few weeks ago, then it was on TV, so we watched it again. Now I know where the phrase 'Birdy nom nom' comes from! At first I couldn't get into it but by the end my tummy hurt from laughing so much.


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