When my brother and I were kids, my mother once walked in on us watching one of those home video shows. She caught us laughing at this kid who just had his bollocks hurt. I don’t remember what was particularly funny about this one, as nutshots were a staple on that show (and now a staple on YouTube [not to mention stapling someone’s bollocks]), but I do remember that it was a unique and especially humourous nutshot.
Of course, our mother took us into her room and explained to us that people getting hurt is not funny and we should, under no circumstances, laugh at it. Nevermind the absurdity of the occasion, or the willingness to be laughed at (as he did send it to a home video show), or the fact that following this rule means never laughing again. You are not to laugh at the misfortune of others.
She was right about one thing. People getting hurt is not inherently funny. Some television programmes and films have this wrong (for example, Jackass), which causes them to be the opposite of funny. But, let’s look a bit further back into my past than most people have been granted access.
You’ll probably never hear me talk about my past without taking creative liberties, but it suffices to say that it’s filled with an abnormally large about of pain. The pain continues to today to some degree, but it was especially bad during a particularly inspiring time period. By the time we were caught laughing at that nutshot, I had already proven myself to be called into comedy. I had written a creative writing project for school that satirised the source of the humour in Home Alone. It exaggerated the violence to lack of injury ratio as well as the perceived deservedness to punishment ratio of the film. It was given a D because, as the red ink made clear, it was, “too violent.” There was no doubt about how well written it was for a third grader. There was no doubt about the power of the satire. That was all admitted by the teacher. However, without the violence, the satire would not have worked. I had also made a series of audio tapes in which I played several characters (often simultaneously). It was very well made for being made only with childhood ingenuity and two tape recorders, even if it was too crude for my standards today. In one particular scene, I was announcing the second tape from a huge platform that fell over and crushed me using sound effects I made with three or four planks of wood. I once caught my mother laughing at that scene, though her laughter faded to embarrassment when she realised I was there.
I once knew this girl called Cathy. She and I were very close. If I had been heterosexual, she may have ended up as more than a friend. She once told me I should stop making fun of myself. I said, “I’m a comedian. What the hell do you want me to do? That’s like telling a surgeon he should work without a scalpel. Sure, he could do it, but his job would be so much more difficult.” On Indoc alone, I’ve made myself out to be a hypocrite, a crazy conspiracy theorist, a guy who compares everyone to Hitler, and a vast array of other negative things just to make you laugh. And, every single one of them was poking fun at a real trait in my character or real opinion I held
Speaking of ADHD, comedians aren’t happy people. Some of us have no problem admitting this, even in front of an audience. We do our routine with a smile (or whatever fake face we use), and you laugh. Then, we go home happy. Our jokes are not retelling of happy experiences. Our jokes are rewritten from pain. Not always our pain, but ours is always there fuelling most of our jokes. Every joke, ironic musing, humourous anecdote, or any other thing that ever made anyone laugh only exists because someone was hurt. If you can’t laugh at someone getting hurt, then have a good laughless life.
On the contrary, we prefer you laugh at our pain. It’s really one of very few things in our lives that makes us happy. Certainly the only thing worth mentioning. The old cliché was right. Laughter really is the best medicine. It’s our coping mechanism. Hurricane devastates New Orleans, we make a joke about it. The stupidity of politicians ruins the life of some young man who was just doing what he saw to be the right thing, we make a joke about it. Tsunami in Japan depresses the world, we make a joke about it to lighten the mood. Then we get fired from our job as the Aflec duck because some people are idiots who pretend to be offended by a joke. It’s not because we don’t feel for the people that we tell these jokes. It’s because we feel so much that we need to release the pain somehow. And you do too. That’s why you laugh at the joke. If you get offended or, God forbid, outraged at a joke, it’s because you don’t care about human suffering and you just want to pretend you do. Give it up. We see through you.
So, in conclusion, I’m going to try to make you laugh through more of my pain. Before I hit the publish button in my control panel, I’m going to swing this mace into my bollocks for your amusement. I know this probably won’t work well in text, but let’s try it anyway. OW!! Goddamn! I think one of the spikes went right through my penis. Yep. Sure did. My penis is now in my sock. I’d better call an ambulance.