I know that sounds cliché, but the statement rings true. It’s the act of creating comedy that builds a bond between complete strangers over a short period of time. An unmolded audience is taken into the hands of a verbal craftsman, creating a community bound by laughter!
Laughter. What is it fundamentally? No definitive research has been published (that I have bothered to read) that fully defines the nature of laughter. Laughter is therapeutic, releasing dopamine into the brain and raising the heart rate. The cause of laughter is both subjective and objective. Humor is a paradox wrapped in a contradiction and smothered in delicious hypocrisy sauce (great now I want enchiladas).
How can the mere act of speech trigger laughter? A person can stand on a stage (or a square of linoleum, or a street corner, or even a train…True story!), orate to a crowd about something they may fundamentally disagree with and still leave them laughing hysterically.
For example, my mother used to be a nun (don’t have time to expand on that now, just listen). She had divorced Jesus, but was still a fan. Subsequently, she had my sister and me. One day, my sister played a recording of Sam Kinison’s “Louder Than Hell,” arguably his greatest album. Sam ranted about how our Lord and Savior could have been spared the agony of a crucifixion had one of the 12 disciples bothered to bring a step ladder and a pair of pliers.
Despite herself, my mom could not stop laughing. It was an odd type of laughter, one that seemed almost resentful. A laugh that said, “I never would have put this thought in my head, but since you have, my only reaction is to bust a gut and pee a little!”
I’ve said it before in jest, but the truth is, comedians are word painters. The audience’s imagination is our canvas and as long as they are within earshot, we are free to paint! From the silly, to the absurd, to the informed rants about the human experience, the effect of laughter cannot be denied or dismissed. And as sure as God makes little green apples, we can never have too much humor in this world!
Sincerely Yours, The Breakfast Club
(aka Big Jim Willig)