Tag Archives: funny

Remembering Funny

I’m catching my breath after the two-part Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour episode with Tallulah Bankhead. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

It was the 100th anniversary of Lucille Ball’s birth this weekend, teaching me something I previously didn’t know — my mother died on Lucille Ball’s birthday. Kind of weird. Mom loved Lucy.

The top three shows for my mother — I Love Lucy, Columbo, and the Carol Burnett Show. All three were funny as hell, I thought. Peter Falk really had great comedic timing in a subtle way.

So, Saturday was the 12th anniversary of Mom’s death. People tell you that loss never really stops. Well, it doesn’t. The hurt kind of even hurts more now, sometimes, because I realize now how long forever really seems to be. It was a different kind of hurt this weekend, since I’ve been down with a cold and stuck watching re-runs half a century old on a hot August weekend.

I don’t remember if my mother was very funny. I don’t think she was. Just the average kind of funny. She sure knew what funny was, though. I grew up with I Love Lucy, Carol Burnett, the Apple Dumpling Gang, and classic slapstick kind of humour like that. Dad introduced us to Porky’s and Porky’s Revenge, so, you know, we got a little balance there. Both Dad and Mom were fans of MASH and Three’s Company, too.

All the other little kids at Catholic school were shocked we were watching that sin-filled Three’s Company. “They live together! There’s s-e-x!”

Still, I don’t think we were a particularly funny household. There weren’t miles and miles of laughs, ever. We weren’t unfunny, either. I think we laughed enough, that’s for sure.

I remember being distinctly unfunny, myself. I couldn’t tell a joke to save my life before the age of 10. I was funny just “being myself,” since I’ve always been an odd one.

My brother, he was a laugh riot sometimes. He’s still very funny but we have differing opinions on some of his methods, since I can find him really irritating… which is fitting, since he’s my big brother.

As a kid, though, I thought he was hysterical. If he wanted a laugh, he got it. He seldom blew the joke’s punchline.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make people laugh much until I got older, into my mid-to-late teens. As a kid, most of my jokes involved me flubbing the timing, blowing the punchline, and receiving a split-second blank stares then confused guffaws. Or, just a swat from my brother, since siblings are allowed to be jerks.

Being funny, that was important to me. It was a life goal. I couldn’t imagine living life without being FUNNY.

Then… I introduced my brother to Saturday Night Live. I was 11.

I remember it being fall of 1984, I’d just turned 11, and I was sleeping on the sofa, sick, while my parents entertained friends. I woke up after a few hours sleep, turned on the television, and am surprised now that I didn’t hear a choir of angels harmonizing as I discovered something that just blew my mind: Saturday Night Live.

As Billy Crystal would have said, it loohked mahvellous. Eddie Murphy was Buckwheat, wookin’ pa nub.

In the next couple years, I’d be getting into SNL and Second City TV and Johnny Carson. And, oh, The Blues Brothers. It was a crash course in Funny. by 14 I was getting my comedic cues from John Hughes movies, too.

Throughout it all Lucille Ball was a constant, so was Carol Burnett. I knew I’d never be slapstick kind of funny the redhead queens mastered, but I wanted to make people laugh.

These days, it’s still something I love to do. If I make a stranger laugh during the day, it’s great. If someone can’t breathe because my timing’s so good when telling a funny story and they’re laughin’ so hard, I’m on top of the world. I don’t look like I’m elated about it, I always have that sorta-surly Irish-girl look, but I’m secretly on top of the world when I get a good laugh.

Once upon a time, I had a nightmare. It was when I was 19, and I was becoming “in with the out crowd” and getting lots of friends, not a lot of whom I could call “close,” but who typically wanted to invite me to parties ‘cos I’d be interesting. So, the nightmare hit one day and I had it a couple times. It went like this:

I’m driving down a treacherous seaside highway in my hatchback, a bunch of friends in different cars behind me, as I lead the pack and our caravan weaves down the coast.

Suddenly, my car careens and I shoot through the embankment, off the road, over the cliff, plunging hundreds of feet to the rocky coast below — my car exploding into a fiery inferno, and me most certainly as dead as can be.

Smash-cut to the top of the cliff where a dozen or more “friends” all stand peering down in not-so-much-abject-horror as “dude, what a bummer” kind of faces.

One friend goes, “Wow. That really sucks.”

Another goes, “Yeah. She was funny.”

It was one of those moments of clarity when I realized I should be careful what I’m wishing for, because “being funny” is a pretty short list of what one should offer. I tried to be more, and began to collect friends who wanted me to be more than just funny, who didn’t see me as interesting filler for the guest list, who saw me as insightful or as having something more to say in life than just the next gag.

So, this weekend, I’d sort of spent time remembering my comedic roots and sometimes thinking of Mom too. No, she wasn’t “funny,” but she was well-rounded and certainly enjoyed laughing. I think she and my dad must have laughed a lot in the early days, to spawn such amusing kids.

I’m glad I was raised with a mix of genres around me — comedy, film, music, theatre, and big fun parties thrown at home. I’m glad I had parents who entertained a lot, because once in a blue moon I did manage to say something amusing, and having a whole room of adults laughing was a gift. Look at me, I’m a funny kid. Don’t you wish your kid was this funny?

In the middle of all these remembrances is a big gaping hole. My mother died at a time I was really seeing her as human — flawed and all — and when I was beginning to teach HER a lot about living life. I wish there could have been more of a full-circle event between us, but that’s cancer for you. It doesn’t tend to take rainchecks. I’m glad she found me funny and enjoyed that about me when she got sick. I’m glad we found the same things funny then, too.

I may be motherless now, but I’ve got some 30+ episodes of I Love Lucy on my PVR, and somehow it’s like I’m back in my childhood. Pretty awash in memories these days.

I’ll worry about Being Funny tomorrow.

No Fatties: The Ethic of Funny

People urge me to try stand-up comedy. A natural, they call me. A funny girl.

And, hey, they’re right.

What, it’s wrong I should know I’m funny? I shouldn’t acknowledge it? Right, like I’ve spent my life cracking jokes so I can play the fool now.

Jokes are hard. Funny is tough. Humour’s a fine line.

I pride myself on a having higher funny “ethic” than I think most people ever will. There are things I won’t touch: I don’t insult people for their size or weight, or for their colour or abilities.

Your job, clothes, where you live, how you act, what you do with your time — those are all choices, and I feel absolutely fine about ripping them apart and going to town on ’em for jokes. It’s commentary on who we’re opting to be as a society. Get on the bus in thigh-high rubber fuck-me boots and a LaToya Jackson studded-special leather jacket? Sure, yeah, I’ll use it for humour. Your choice.

But I don’t hurt people with nasty public jabs made about a weight problem, or vision issues, or a goiter, or anything like that.

You think people wouldn’t change those things about them if they could? You think they’re not aware of how outside the norm they might be?

Somehow “fat” is different from all the other discrimination out there, because people “choose” to be fat. That’s another argument for another time, considering the modern food industry, media, how government’s been bought and sold, and more — so I’m not going there.

This whole posting sprang up because I got all pissed off about some remarks a young guy was making about “fatties” on Twitter today, mocking overweight girls trying to glam it up for a profile shot — saying how they’re just getting fatter and fatter, and he wants to puke.

Who the fuck does he think he is? He’s perfect? Does he KNOW what it’s like to be 300 pounds and feel like losing weight is the hardest thing in the world? Um, no.

Know who does? I do. I know what it’s like. I’ve weighed that. Note the past-tense.

I’ve hauled my 275-pound body up a 30-floor highrise’s stairs and back down again, I’ve cycled 70km in a day, lived through the hellish pain that comes from waking up a body that’s long been hibernating. I know.

I know the looks a girl gets when she’s pushing 300 pounds and has the audacity to enter a gym — the skepticism, the obvious wondering about how long she’s gonna last.

Fat people are NOT encouraged to change. When they try, they’re largely scorned and mocked just for even attempting that. Trust me, I know.

It took watching my father almost die from diabetes to wake me up; I didn’t want to die like THAT. And it was the hardest road I’ve ever travelled.

Mocking fat people clearly hasn’t been working. Look at our world.

Insulting the disabled removes them from our world, while denying us the possibility of another Ray Charles or Stephen Hawking because of shame felt from having to endure the mockery that comes from a large portion of the public.

Making a non-specific insult about a body-type or disability or skin-colour doesn’t have to have an intended recipient — without one, you’ve broadly painted everyone. They’ve all been struck by the ignorance of that comment.

Have YOU ever been that person behind the computer screen when an insensitive generalized remark is made, and you react with “is he talking about me?” because it could totally be about you?

Passive-aggressive hate is everywhere on the internet. Its passivity should in no way suggest it is impotent. It rises up and harms many.

My tweet about it said it best: Being mean isn’t cool. It’s never been cool. And if you make it funny, it’s still not cool. Grow up. High school’s over.

We’re an unhappy society. What’s causing it? Is it the ever-present derision and commentary about each other that sets us constantly on edge? People are less secure than ever, and some are striking out at others as a result. Suddenly, it’s no longer a grown-up world, but a return to all I loathed about being in grade 10.

Seriously, what’s going on?

When I hear waif friends panicking about calories, “oh, god, I’m getting fat!” and they’re a size four, I wonder where the fuck we all went wrong.

Maybe some people still haven’t gotten over their elementary-school mocking and want to take it out on everyone else. I don’t know.

What I do know is, in an age where we have greater glimpses into other people’s lives than ever before — their pains, their sorrows, their struggles — I find that we’re getting crueler, more ignorant, and more insensitive when we’re supposedly civilized.

I often wonder if it’s the culture of the celebrity-gossip blog that’s killing kindness in society.

Instead of pettiness being confined to blogs about celebrities, we’re now visiting it on everyone.

The thing about this whole thing that’s most odd, this little fight with this ignorant kid, is I might consider myself somewhat overweight, but I know I’ve changed a LOT about myself — I’ve lost more weight in the last couple years than most people could even fathom. I KNOW what it takes to lose 3 pounds in a week, I know what kind of hardcore activity is required week-in, week-out. I could probably kick your ass.

There’s a reason most people fail in trying to not be “fat.”

It’s not a two-month course-correction — it’s trying to change for the rest of your life what it took you a lifetime to become. There are years of up-and-downs as you learn about yourself before you one day figure out what it takes for YOU to have success. There are medications and environments that can artificially influence weight. It’s not a black-and-white thing.

And there is no addiction in the world more difficult to overcome than food: We are faced with making choices about it three times a day, at least. Every holiday revolves around it. Every social outing is based upon it.

Overcoming weight issues and other addictions is a massive challenge.

It’s NOT society’s job to fix anyone’s life. It’s on EACH PERSON to improve themselves, and using excuses why you won’t change just doesn’t cut it — because some of us find the strength to change even in the face of our largest adversities.

I don’t accept that being unhealthily fat is a lifetime sentence. I believe every unhealthy overweight person* can change their life and improve their health — because I could, even after a decade of injuries.

And I think we can be better people.

We can be a kinder society.

We can accept that words and actions hurt others.

We can try to understand how it might feel on the other side.

I don’t WANT a world where everyone’s NICE all the time. Do I strike you as a sunshine-and-roses kind of girl?

I just want a world where people are treated with a little respect.

I didn’t need the world to give me a hug and tell me everything was gonna be all right when I was super-fat. But I sure as hell needed less skepticism when I finally had the courage to go to the gym and try to change my life. I needed people to understand and support me when I started on my path of change, rather than presupposing I was just going to be another failing fatty who would give up on everything.

I may have ate the food, but EVERYONE in life around me helped perpetuate my mammoth size that by saying all the things that made me insecure and hurting in the first place — which drove ME to my security blanket of food. Yes, I still take the blame, but at least I understand the reasons, too.

Too bad I didn’t have an emotional dependency on cocaine — at least then I might’ve been a hottie and socially-accepted in my svelte size four. After all, nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels, says Little Miss Kate Moss, who might be confusing how skinny feels with the high she’s riding from her cocaine addiction that fuels her size-zero money-maker.

We’re ALL fucked up.

Don’t try to pretend you’re not. YOU know it. I know it. We ALL have things we’d rather not have come to light at a party.

People with obvious physical issues can’t hide theirs, though, so they don’t get off easily. Instead, they’re publicly hurt.

That’s my problem.

That it’s somehow been deemed acceptable behaviour in today’s world?

That’s our problem.

* “Skinny-fat” is the new phrase out there — people who look healthy ‘cos they’re skinny but their numbers are off the chart, all because they luckily have a quick metabolism so they can hide their true health. There ARE overweight people who are healthy, I’m definitely one — since I can climb/descend 30 floors in a high-rise after cycling 15 kilometres and get my 6 cups of veggies a day — but society still isn’t talking about how health is about internal numbers, not outward appearances. Stop judging on looks or abilities.

Getting Nailed

I aspire to write something good today, but for now my head’s in other spaces. This morning’s just getting started after one of my best sleeps in months. I’ve been so tired so long I’ve forgotten what good sleeps felt like. Fucking awesome is what they feel like.

Watching Weeds this morning, and it’s a great episode with lots of sexual innuendo, but the one that had me cracking right up has to do with Mary Louise Parker introducing her black (“African-American”) drug connection friend, Conrad (played by the oh-so-hot Romany Malco) as her “carpenter” for what will soon be her new front business for her drug-dealing escapades, to her uptight-bitch suburban-mom friend, Elizabeth Perkins, who’s about to lose her breasts to breast cancer and wants one last night on the town with her Girls.

Perkins’s character is seeing Conrad as being a potentially fun night of diversions and convinces her friend and Conrad to head out for a night of clubbing. During the evening, she turns to Conrad and says:

“Is it true that once a white woman’s had… a carpenter, she never goes back?”

“Damn right,” says Conrad. “When I nail something, it stays nailed.”

I need me a carpenter. Incidentally, I’ve never had a black man, or a carpenter, but they’re on the list. That long fucking list. Sigh. Ethnic guys are hot, but I’m not really into Asians. In my world, Persian guys are sexy and African guys are really sexy. I’ve had an Asian, but not Persian or African. The Asian was nothing to write home about, but I’m not holding that against the whole race, just him.

Fortunately, my sex drive’s been out of commission for a while. For some odd reason — okay, maybe it was reading about a sex scene peppered with drugs and illegal moves — the one time my drive fired up was yesterday when I was sitting with foils in my hair and my ass in a hairdresser’s high chair. How inconvenient is that? Nothing but pretentious hair chicks around and gay men. How bad of timing do my hormones have, anyhow?

And I can’t get oral sex — giving and receiving — out of my head this morning. Gah!

Opposing Forces: The Laws of Attraction (?!)

An immensely wise philospher-singer once sang:

We come together
Cuz opposites attract
And you know–it ain’t fiction
Just a natural fact
We come together
Cuz opposites attract

Whatever happened to that Paula Abdul, anyhow? Where is she now? Those one-hit wonders, you know, like flashes in the pan.

The Guy sent these photos the other night after I pointed out what had to be, and what I said then, the most unseemly gay male couple I’ve ever seen. Now, keep in mind, I live in Vancouver, or as I think of it, San Francisco North. I’ve lived here all my life and see trannies, queens, and the whole shebang as often as they come.

Picture a Pillsbury Dough-kinda boy: nice protruding round belly, about 5’11, goatee, 26, kinda cute in that “If I weighed 65 lbs less, I could be a surfer! Hand me a Twinkie?” kinda way. And his boyfriend: About 5’5, absolutely skinny, 18-if-a-day, wide-eyed with do-it-to-me-now! lust, gazing up longingly. Chunky Two-Time had LoverBOY leaned up against a rather dubious chain-link fence, and it was pretty fucking obvious who was offering a little topping for the evening, if you know what I’m saying.

The Guy shuddered. And rightfully so. It just looked fucking weird, man. I’ve seen the whole Blue Oyster Cult-Village People leather crowd, the big fucking hairy bears, the demure little Asians and their Rice Queens, and the whole shebang, all right? This looked weird. I’m tellin’ ya.

But not as weird as this.

I went out with a guy once who argued that, when it comes to love, a couples’ longevity depended categorically on the balancing of the attractiveness scales. There had to be a relativity between their appearances, or it’d be doomed due to the rearing of the ugly insecurity head.

Maybe. Maybe so. Maybe not. I don’t have my Relationships Physics & Probability degree just yet. Probably a hold-up at the post office. Please, Mr. Postman, look and see if you got a letter in your bag for me. I been waiting such a long time since I ordered that degree of mine.

I think there could be some truth to it. Look at the couple in the photo, then. As I said, the Guy fired it off to me to illustrate that the Gay Odd Couple was a fitting reminder of this forwarded email he’d received that’s making the rounds as “Redneck Wedding of the Year.”

(I didn’t realize they had a rewards ceremony now. What, every-fucking-body’s got trophies now? Who’s next, huh? Bowlers?)

I confess, I feel badly putting the photo up. I’m sure they’re sweet people. Scary, but sweet. In between shooting beer cans off the fence, Jeff Foxworthy reruns, and playing D&D, they probably serve up a hell of an apple cobbler, you know?

I just don’t get the whole opposites-attracting thing, myself. I’ve always been attracted to guys who carry a few extra pounds, just like me. (Not rotund, just excessively huggable.) They should be bookish, and into film and food and life, not clubs, and smart enough to make me frustrated that I shoulda known that first.

Most couples I know are pretty on-page physically. Not too many of them would stand out in a crowd, and probably most seem natural together. The beautiful people get together, the people with perfect hair curl up together, the punks mesh’n’mosh, the granolas sing Kumbaya in harmony, the plastics meld… it’s all so consistent. Do they last? I don’t know, but they look right at the mall.

Nah, I don’t get opposites attracting. What’s the point of hooking up with someone you got fuck-all in common with? How about you? Has it ever worked for you? Are you into the relationship equivalent of magnetic field reversals or something? ‘Sup with that? Enquiring minds, yada, yada. And were you at this wedding? What kind of cake was it?

Hey, honey, mind photocopying this — and your ass — for me?

A recent sexual harassment lawsuit was tossed out of court in the USA. It doesn’t amount to much in the scheme of things, but I’m fucking elated about it.

During writing meetings on the show “Friends,” things would get raunchy. Sex-talk and profanity would lace the meetings, and one woman got her panties in a twist as a result of it.

I’m sick and tired of the politically correct bullshit out in the world. Whether it’s no longer being able to flirt at all at work or having to check your tongue before you speak, people just take things way too goddamned seriously.

I recently had a reader object to my use of the word “chick” when talking about women. I had to rewrite my response to her because I was so pissed off at first. What the fuck? “Broad” or “skirt” or “twat” or “bitch,” yeah, those are offensive, sure. When you get an email from me, wanna know what the sign-off signature reads? “Resident Cunt.”

Words are words. Intentions behind them are what matters, and people need to start looking at the big picture, not using a macro lens to examine every little happening.

I will never, ever clean my language up for you, people. Sorry, not going to happen. Don’t like it? Read someone else. Go read fucking Miss Manners, for all I care. My blog, my words, my way. Soon, I’ll be having to watch every period and every verb when editors harangue me for perfection and for publication-quality work, but for now? I’m a rebel with a cause, baby, and my cause is “whimsy” and “spontanaeity”. I think it, I say it.

This chick, getting a job on a sitcom about sex, one of the top sitcoms of its time (this was six years ago), was LUCKY. She was FORTUNATE to have an inside fly-on-the-wall perspective of some of the best comedy writing on television. She was warned about the workplace approach when she got the job, yet she decided to rock the boat based on her own narrow perceptions.

It doesn’t work like that, honey.

This is tantamount to something we have occurring a lot here in Vancouver, home of the million-dollar apartments. Yuppies move into areas with clubs and bars and then they piss, moan, and bitch about noise after they’ve moved in. What part of “entertainment district” did you fail to fucking comprehend BEFORE you moved in, HUH? Fucking whiners.

There are a lot of standards I possess that are not met by the world at large, whether it’s cleanliness, food, manners, what have you, but when I leave my front door, I know I need to compromise. That’s life. But these whiners and wimps looking for a perfect, safe, clean, proper life, they’re spoiling it for the rest of us.

It’s one thing to say that unwanted sexual advancements are not appropriate for work, but it’s another thing to let that pendulum of so-called decency swing to extremes. Life just isn’t as fun as it used to be. Personally, I always pushed the envelope in the office. I was known as “flippant.” When I write, I have a backspace key. You think I’m off the hook here? You don’t know shit. In person, the things I say, man, I’m amazed I’ve never been beaten senseless and left for dead some days. Having a cute smile and a twinkle in ze eye serves a girl well, it would seem.

But why should I have to watch what I say? Why can’t I just say it, and if it’s too much, apologize? When did we start cutting the leg off before the gangrene set in, huh? We’re a preventative society now. Playgrounds aren’t nearly as fun as they used to be. Merry-go-rounds are practically a thing of the past. Teeter-totters? Dear god, the potential for death and dismemberment! Get that thing out of here!

We are a nation of pussies, and I don’t mean in the get-it-wet-and-get-it-now “mreow!” sort of way. We’re wimps. We’re too timid. “Park your indecency at the door and homogenize with the rest of us” seems to be the credo of the day. If we were a colour, we’d be beige, man.

So, we’ve had a small victory here with this court case being trounced. For once it seems like filth and debauchery are allowed to be a part of the creative process. But what about the rest of the world? What about workplaces that are boring and stoic? What if a little juice and impropriety was good for productivity? Maybe workers wouldn’t be so compelled to surf for tits and ass when the boss ain’t looking. Who knows. All I know is, talking about sex and swearing and being inappropriate makes me smile. Smiling means I’m happy. Happiness means I get more shit done. Getting more shit done means the wheels of this economy work better.

There’s an argument for scrapping the harassment laws. Economic benefit. Really, look at it – all this shit came into play since the whole Justice Clarence Thomas “Is that a pube on my can of Coke?!” scandal way back when. The economy? Has been tanking ever since.
A connection? Elementary, Dr. Watson.

***

Addendum: Okay, I’m being a tad facetious, but really… don’t we all hate work a little more than we used to? Isn’t impropriety, oh, I don’t know… fun?

Filler — A couple good jokes for you

It’s a Monday, and it could be a Very Good Day, depending what goes down, so I don’t want to write right now. I don’t want to tamper with my headspace. It’s sunny, blissful, beautiful out today, and I’m about to head out into the world on my Eurotrash scooter, and plan to find my way to a beach or forest to do some photography. I’m going to try and find Love in images, I think. That would be a fun challenge. (Challenges rock. Ever assign yourself them at the start of your day? Try it!)

But I’d like you to have a smile on your face today, like the one I already have. So, without ado, one of my all-time favourite dirty jokes. I don’t know if it’s really the joke I love, so much as it is the woman I heard it from, and how incongruous the two seemed together. This is why I talk to strangers as often as I can. You just never know. :)

Now, I was working in a photo lab back in the day with my colleague Cathy. It was a slow Friday night and we had put out a tray of cookies for customers, for the hell of it. A little old 84-year-old lady stopped in, had some cookies, and began talking to us.

She looked at us both, scrutinizing us. “Do you girls like dirty jokes?” She lowered her voice to a whisper. “Do you like sex?” Then she shook her head. “Well, of course you do. We all do.”

Well, anytime you have an 84-year-old lady with plastic glasses and her hair in a bun, leaning heavily on a burled cane, offering to share a filthy joke with you, you accept the offer. Here’s the joke she told.

____________

In marriage, there are three stages of sex.

The first is called House Sex. This is when you first marry, and you can’t get enough of each other. You have sex all the time, everywhere you can, all over the house. Thus, house sex.

The second stage is called Room Sex. This is when you’ve been together for a couple years and things have slowed down. You still enjoy each other’s company, but you tend to stick to the bedroom and have sex only in bed.

The third stage takes place after about seven years, and it’s called Hall Sex. What it is, is every time you pass each other in the hall, you mutter “Fuck you,” and you’re done with it.

____________
Little old ladies are wise as hell, huh?
____________
One for the road:

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse go to court to get a divorce. The judge checks out the paper, frowns as he’s looking them over, glances up over his reading glasses and peers at Mickey Mouse.

“Mickey, look, I’m sorry, I want to help you out. I watched you as a kid, but really, I can’t grant you a divorce on the grounds that Minnie’s insane. I mean, “for sicker or for poorer…” You know? You made a vow, Mickey.”

“Oh, sir, I never said she was insane,” says Mickey. “I said she was fucking Goofy.”

____________

The rest of my jokes involve priests or sex toys. Well, here’s hoping I have the day I’m wanting to have. Hope you do, too.