On my second date with GAR he told me a joke. It went (roughly) something like this:
A guy is sitting at home when the doorbell rings. When he answers his front door and finds a snail on the porch. Puzzled he picks it up and tosses it across the street. Two years later, the doorbell rings again, and when the man answers his door he finds the snail on his doorstop. The snail looks at him and says, "What the f**k was that about?"
Upon hearing this joke I think I perhaps checked my watch, or started preparing some sort of escape plan. In any case, I remember thinking “Really? That’s his best material? This is going to be a loooong night.” While I didn’t have much faith in GAR’s comedic talents at that moment I quickly learned that he is, indeed, a very funny guy. Mostly because, when he’s not wasting his time telling modern knock-knock jokes, he shares my very wry, dry sense of humor. But I understand why it took him awhile to let his inner sarcasm fly – it’s not a comedy device that everyone appreciates (or even recognizes).
Sarcastic, dry humor is not everyone’s cup of tea. You either get it or you don’t – there’s really not much middle ground. And so there are people who think both GAR and I are hilarious, and those who think we’re the biggest tools on the planet. Frankly that’s fine with me. I want to laugh and be around people who crack me up as well. And as long as GAR and I are stupidly amused by our own brand of comedy then I’m a happy gal. But I’m not going to lie – sometimes my funny business gets me into trouble.
On a whole I’ve gotten much better at judging my audience. Oh sure, I still push the boundaries of what is deemed “okay” to say sometimes (and, fair enough, my perception of acceptable vs. unacceptable is likely far more liberal than most). But I do alter my style when it’s important not to offend. GAR has called it my stand-up routine, and I’m more likely to use this type of comedy when I’m cracking jokes at work (“What’s the deal with all these pencil sharpeners? Is this an office from 1958??”) or when in a mixed social setting (which I would define as any group that contains at least one person who is not a close personal friend of mine), but it can creep up at any time a good one liner pops to mind. And, much like a real comedienne, many of these joke falter or land flat (“Hello?? Is this thing on? Tough crowd…”)
But when I am around friends and loved ones anything goes. I’m often self deprecating, and I’m not afraid to share embarrassing personal stories. But I’m also not afraid to take my loved ones down with me. If you do something funny (intentionally or unintentionally) or stupid I will call you on it. Teasing – especially the brutally sarcastic kind – is an extension of my love for you. And if you’re not the kind of person who enjoys snarky quips at your expensive then you are not going to be my friend. I think most people get this. I mean, didn’t your mom always tell you that the boy who pulled your pigtails or stole your eraser in elementary school only did so because he liked you? That’s sort of my way of showing affection for you – I will treat you much like a schoolyard bully would. After all, I don’t waste my time playfully picking on people I don’t like (or even those I’m indifferent about). Why bother?
And that’s the way my blog works too. I make fun of myself, pick on GAR and tease my father, to name just a few. Ah, but here’s the problem with dry humor – it doesn’t translate well in writing. While I make my finest effort to imply through my writing the fact that I am, of course, just telling a good story in a witty way, it seems that some people just don’t get it. And I may have caused some hurt feelings with some of my loving jabs – specifically those made at Dad’s expense. Now, Dad would never tell me that I upset him, but I did apologize just in case I did. However, I think that clearly – obviously – in case it wasn’t already abundantly evident – I love my father dearly. I appreciate everything he does for me. In fact, I think I would be quite lost without him. We all get that, right? But, come on, he’s a funny guy. And how could I not share his Daddy antics with the world? It’s part of what makes him so loving and endearing in the first place.
So it seems that I’m not quite ready to take my stand-up routine on the road just yet. Honestly I don’t know how comedians do it with alienating everyone they know. I mean, one funny family story into my HBO special and Mom would be so mortified she’d disown me for sure. Perhaps this is why so many of comics begin their acts with “So my girlfriend just dumped me …” And, while I have absolutely no qualms about using GAR stories as comedic fodder, even he has been known to edit and censor at times when I’ve crossed the line – despite his deep appreciation for finding comedy in just about anything.
So maybe from now on I’ll stick to more generically schmaltzy comedy. The type that ends with a big punch line. How about this:
What did one cannibal say to the other while they were eating a clown?