“I have a knack for finding humor in all sorts of things, no matter how grim. My sense of humor is wry and a bit on the warped side. (Well, more than a bit, depending on whom you ask.)” ― Gerri R. Gray
Once I had a sense of humor…mostly teenage kind of humor, bathroom, potty mouthed, laugh at farts kind of humor. “Here, pull on my finger.” I would like to think I have evolved but I still get a good laugh when someone slips on a banana peel…I make sure they aren’t hurt first. I have evolved.
I found humor in the grim. You know, hiding my fear and pain behind a suspect joke at the expense of a dearly departed friend or family member. From my home state’s Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina: Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 2023 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.
My problem is I’ve become too fearful or the grim has become too grim and I believe I’m not in a small boat in my thinking.
American politics were once a perfect target for humor. During the worst times, even our politicians could poke fun at each other. Their constituents could still laugh at them or themselves. Now any joke is taken as a challenge to a duel.
I’ve become too politically correct. No, I’ve always been too politically correct. I’ve never wanted to hurt someone’s feelings just for the sake of hurting someone’s feelings but “roasting” someone was always fair game. Now there is a movement that uses political correctness to become incensed over every little thing and another movement that uses its distain for political correctness to bully.
Americans have lost their sense of humor. I miss George Carlin’s, Dick Gregory’s, Lenny Bruce’s, and Richard Pryor’s sharp and irreverent wit poking fun at society and government in the Sixties and Seventies. We need Laugh-in’s “Laugh-in Looks at the News” or “The Wonderful World of Whoopee Award” or the political satire and irreverence of the Smothers Brothers. I miss Johnny Carson wise cracking, “There is a power struggle going on between President Reagan’s advisers. Moe and Curly are out. Larry is still in.” Somehow it was funnier when he said it, cha ching.
According to Mark Twain…or maybe Steve Allen, “Humor is tragedy plus time.” I don’t guess we have had enough time to find the humor of today’s tragic political environment. I fear in today’s environment, Mark or Steve would be cancelled the way CBS smothered the Smothers Brothers.
Now we have Laura Ingram, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson…what do you mean? They aren’t comedians?
Even our politicians were funny…I’m not talking about their lawmaking abilities; some of those are quite hilarious. Some were funny not meaning to be, like Gerald Ford slipping and falling and Chevy Chase making a career spoofing it.
I’m talking about the ability to turn a phrase or humorously bash their opponent. The comedic looking Winston Churchill for instance, speaking of politics in general, “Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”
My favorite humorous Churchill quotes involved Nancy Astor, Lady Astor, an American who married an English nobleman and had been elected to Parliament. They didn’t like each other very much and were always good for a humorous quip.
Lady Astor: “Mr. Churchill, you’re drunk!”
Winston Churchill: “Yes, and you, Madam, are ugly. But tomorrow, I shall be sober.”
I’m not sure that one would fly in today’s political environment. Still, it is funny.
Another and then I shall move on
Lady Astor: “Winston, if I were your wife, I’d put poison in your coffee.”
Winston Churchill: “Nancy, if I were your husband, I’d drink it.”
Politicians from another age knew how to think and realized well thought out words carried more weight than stupidly bludgeoning opponents. Simple barbs yet thoughtful that were more intelligent than name calling or disparaging someone’s wife.
Some favored quips
Bob Dole on Carter, Ford, and Nixon: “History buffs probably noted the reunion at a Washington party a few weeks ago of three ex-presidents: Carter, Ford, and Nixon — See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Evil.”
Pat Buchanan on Bill Clinton: “Bill Clinton’s foreign policy experience is pretty much confined to having had breakfast once at the International House of Pancakes.”
Senator William E. Jenner on New York Governor W. Averell Harriman: “He’s thin, boys. He’s thin as piss on a hot rock.”
Texas Governor Ann Richards on George W. Bush: “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”
Politicians were more creative…. about many things.
Maybe it is just me. I guess I should cremate my sense of humor and put the ashes in a pretty urn. I’ve let mass shootings, politics, the impending doom of Climate Change, inflation, etcetera suck the humor out of my humor. If it is a humor vampire, I’ll hang a bobble head of George Carlin around my neck instead of a cross to keep it away.
The truth is, we have lost the ability to poke fun at ourselves and the only humor we find funny must be directed toward what we perceive to be the opposition.
Don Miller’s latest offering is “Pig Trails and Rabbit Holes” and may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR0yXYm7o67oNCZe580f0IHGFtOAndQ4-x_K4txNuTEUZlTfZIvoD-apLtU