Sunday, May 03, 2015

Funny/Not Funny

Have you seen this fish?
If you do, do not approach him.
He may be finned and dangerous.
There is also a great likelihood that he is tanked...

Humour is a funny thing.... As some of you may know, I worked as a stand-up comic for about four years at the turn of the century. Right of the bat, I need to let you know that this does not mean, nor did it ever mean, that I told jokes. I talked about this and that in a way that made people laugh. The stories were generally about my own experiences and the foibles of my being a human animal amidst a bunch of other human animals plodding our way through life. I don't know any jokes and never tell any.

My big goal, was to have people be able to laugh at elements of life that are commonly contentious in a way that may set them to thinking and, perhaps, have them consider a point of view outside of their own. 

I was able to touch on subjects such as: LGBT* lifestyle and gay marriage, our use of natural resources at the expense of the planet, the casual way we approach air travel and visiting cultures outside of our own. 

It was an interesting part-time career for me - I still had a full-time job - being an entertainer is not exactly lucrative in the early days. I learned a lot. I made a lot of mistakes and still think about them to this day. It's hard when you are on stage and all eyes are on you. People are paying attention (in most places) and they expect to be entertained. So when you forget your material in a moment of either ill-preparedness or after bantering with a heckler (part of the biz), it is really easy to go off the rails and pick on something ...anything. That's the thing with humour, whether you are being paid to do it or if you are joking around with friends: it is so easy to hurt someone with poorly thought out words. 

As a comedian, I approached the art with a great deal of writing, rehearsing and trial and error, but, generally, I was practiced and ready to work. When we are "joking" with friends, it is all too easy to go for the low blow, particularly if we are dealt one first and fall, helplessly into a retaliation mind-set. 

All I'm asking is that we exercise caution in our humour. Try not to be too self-deprecating. Do not make jokes at the expense of another person - their race, culture, sex, sexual orientation, age, weight.... The list goes on. I know, I know, you may be thinking, "Come on! It's just kidding around. Everybody should know when we are just joking. Why does everything have to be so PC?" The thing is, we are highly sensitive, delicate beings - all of us - and, above all else, we deserve care and kindness. We don't know what another person has experienced in a day when we decide to poke a little fun at them. Be careful with one another. 

There are many laughs to be had without unkindness. ...My apologies and gratitude to the fishy in the picture above. I confess I used his image and poked fun at him without his consent. I am truly grateful to him and hope he is doing well in his tank on Maui. I wanted to set him free, but I wasn't sure if he was even from there and, I admit, I did not want to be arrested. I am a bit of a non-starter when it comes to activities that can result in my imprisonment.

I wish you a happy day with joy and laughter along your way. 

-Gillian Cornwall, c. May 3, 2015

Look, it's Nemo!
"Keep swimming, keep swimming..."~Dory

Me - doing a show in another stunning location...
Photographer unknown, circa 1999 or 2000.


Hotel_Goddess said...

so awesome!

Gillian said...

Thanks Angela. I laugh every time I look at this photo of me. 'Twas the best of times and the worst of times...:-)
Love the giant no smoking sign behind me on the "stage".