Cutup

Cutup: (n) a prankster or show-off.

 This simple, humble author lands somewhere between a prankster and a showoff.

My brain has just always thought with a twist of funny.

Usually, this is just fine—unless I’m at a funeral or around people who think the measure of the human race is in the quality of the frown.

But I do know there is a great danger with humor.

Having spoken to many audiences over the years, I have learned that the worst thing you can promote is that you are a comedian.

Matter of fact, I have insisted that the sponsors who have brought me in to perform never, ever place the words “funny, humorous” or especially “side-splitting laughter” in my promo.

Once people are aware that you’re trying to make them laugh—attempting to be tonight’s official cutup—they will do everything in their power to analyze what you’re saying and convince themselves that you’re not clever at all. For I will tell you:

Humor must surprise.

It must come from the least-expected place and land in a region of dullness.

That’s when it’s at its best.

I have offered eulogies and recited an embarrassing incident the deceased performed in my presence, and the room was enlightened with hilarity and a deep sense of gratitude at escaping the doldrums.

No, you can’t advertise yourself as a cutup.

If you do, your hearers will unconsciously cut you up–and put your words, expressions and punchlines under a microscope.

We laugh best when we laugh astonished.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crotchety

Crotchety: (adj) given to odd notions, whims, grouchiness, etc.

There are three words that seem to travel together. Buddies, if you will.

I don’t think you can see “crochety” without the word “old” hanging around, accompanied in the back seat by the word “man.”

Crochety old man.

Women aren’t crochety—women are bitchy.

Men, on the other hand, get a “cushioney” word, perhaps pulled out of a hat owned by Charles Dickens: “’Tis crochety, old boy.”

Also, men are old. Women, on the other hand, are decrepit.

At least with the word “old” you have the possibility of “wisdom” traveling alongside. But decrepit immediately conjures a vision of an old witch with a fondness for dining on the carcasses of little children.

The gentleman in the story gets the advantage of maintaining the word “man” to describe him, while the woman would be a hag.

So if you have a penis, you get to be a “crochety old man.”

Absent that appendage, you are a “bitchy, decrepit hag.”

After all, what does it mean to be crochety? It means that nothing is going your way anymore because your way is so old it’s covered with dust.

What can one do to age and still be a person who isn’t crochety?

I think there is a three-step process, whether you’re male or female:

  1. Shut up.

No one wants to hear all your stories.

  1. Listen.

And as you do, learn some of the lingo so you don’t talk like you came out of a 1970’s movie.

  1. Think funny things, think serious things—share the funny ones.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Crack a Joke

Crack a joke: (v) to make a joke or say something humorous,

Throughout my years of travel, the most danger I ever placed myself in always revolved around cracking a joke.

There are people on this Earth who consider such a response to be ill-founded, immature and sometimes irreverent.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I know there are many tests given to determine mental health, but I will guarantee you—the litmus assessment of good brain function and emotional soundness of being is whether you come across a very delicate, serious situation and decide to embrace it in a somber manner or to find something funny within.

The world ultimately will not be saved by those who crack the whip or even those who crack a smile.

We are desperately in search of those who can crack a joke at just the right time to change our thinking from doom and gloom to glee and whoopee.


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Chortle

Chortle: (n) a breathy, gleeful laugh.

What is your percentage?

What is the percentage of the things that happen in life that you find funny?

It’s a very important number. If you’re not careful, you can start taking everything very seriously, and end up frightened, aghast and terrified
to “move about the cabin.”

But also, if you think everything is a joke, somebody eventually gets the commitment papers signed and puts you away.

For instance, I don’t take government seriously at all. People who encourage me to vote because “every vote counts” are always complaining to me within a few weeks after the election–because every vote didn’t count.

There is a certain number of lamentations which can be changed into jubilations simply by altering one’s perspective.

For instance, some people take religion deadly somber. But you see, since we do not know if there is anything after death, it’s really not necessary to speak definitively or act pious.

What percentage of the things that happen in life do you find worthy of a chortle instead of needing to be treated as immortal?

I certainly think that every human soul, if he or she is to maintain sanity, needs to have a chortle meter set at 51 or above. Yes, over half of the things that we muse, confuse, diffuse and refuse end up being just meaningless worry which collected on us like morning dew, waiting for the sun to burn it away.

And as I get older, my percentage of laughs has increased, and therefore, in my opinion, my sanity is bolstered.

When I heard about the “war on Christmas” I laughed. Nobody’s gonna mess with Christmas. It’s when everybody makes their money.

When somebody told me that immigrants were causing problems in this country, it crossed my mind that this might be a color issue, colored by how these individuals view coloration.

Sometimes I giggle to myself because I don’t want to hurt the feelings of those who have brought a whole platter of difficulty and expect it to be honored.

What is your percentage? Are you prepared to go crazy with every piece of lunacy that leaps at us from the moon?

Or have you set your mind in the direction of silliness, allowing yourself the benefit of releasing your frustration–through a good old-fashioned chortle?

 

 

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Childlike

Childlike: (adj) of an adult, having good qualities associated with a child.

After avoiding it for decades, I finally went to one of my high school reunion luncheons, to meet up with the old gang, whom I had not seen since I held diploma in my hand and dreams fluttered in my brain like butterflies.

We were older.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that deems aging as either a crime or a disease rather than a natural situation which is meant to garner advantage.

What is the advantage of being older? You have sorted through the younger things to do and eliminated the ones that cause humiliation and disease.

That’s pretty powerful.

But what I discovered when I sat down to eat my lunch was that my classmates from a former time were very concerned about their health–cholesterol, salt intake, circulatory system and bladder. I probably should also throw in a few mentions of bowel movements.

It started off well, but when I ended up being glib and funny instead of decrepit and dying, a resentment settled into the room.

I think my friends found me childish. “That guy never grew up. Doesn’t he know there’s a certain protocol for being our age?”

I kept talking about the things I was still doing, the places I wanted to go, the things I was seeing, the passages I was writing and the songs being composed. I was not bragging. I was thrilled to be alive, to share with these old haunts.

Try as I would, the conversation was incapable of reaching the level of being childlike. I brought up some of our former escapades, only to discover that rather than giggling over the incidents, heads were dipped in shame.

I don’t know much about heaven. Nobody does. It is an advertised hot spot without an adequate brochure.

But from what I have learned, it will be a mind trip into discovering the joys of being childlike, simple, joyous, playful and jubilant.

I sure hope we’re up for it.

 

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Amuse

dictionary with letter A

Amuse (v): cause someone to find something funny or enjoyable

The true definition of getting old: when you start lamenting why things aren’t like they used to be instead of trying to improve the way things are.

The most annoying thing about young people is they believe a fad that is four minutes old will be here in forty years.

The advantage of having a few more birthday candles under your belt is knowing the difference between something innovative and something insane.

It doesn’t demand that you hearken back to a former time, wishing you were strolling through those aisles, but it does require having a sense of history and realizing that human beings function best in an environment in which they are truly amused.

First of all, let’s list the three things that are not amusing:

  1. Hurting people.
  2. Making fun of people, to their detriment
  3. Lack of being funny, trying to make that funny

These are actions which presently in our time may gain a few giggles and applause but will eventually be deemed childish, stupid, out-of-step and meaningless.

What is universally amusing?

  1. A great story with a surprise ending.
  2. A great story that makes fun of ourselves.
  3. A great story where everybody in the room relates to it because they’ve been there.

You can see–the linking force is a great story.

Life is humorous enough without us having to make up scenarios that are anti-life. At least that’s what I think–and I believe historically, and even in the future, it will prove to be true.

I know “amusing” is in the ear of the receiver, but as time goes on, we will realize…merely ridiculing people and circumstances does not have much lasting quality. 

 

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Alzheimer’s Disease

dictionary with letter A

Alzheimer’s disease: (n) a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age due to generalized degeneration of the brain.

When you read the definition, there’s nothing funny about it.

But candidly, I think everybody feels a little nervous about taking this disease seriously.

It isn’t that we don’t have empathy for those who suffer from it. It’s just that the one-liners, comedic set-up and potential sketches available on the subject of older people becoming forgetful are so ripe with scenarios that it’s difficult to pass them up in favor of more sensitive profiles.

So when are we being callous?

I remember once in a show I joked about the fact that “considering my size, you know I’m not anorexic.” A lady walked up to me afterwards and complained about my choice of humor, saying that her daughter suffered from the condition and that it was not a jocular matter.

I apologized.

The reason I offered this remorse was that I had offended her. I didn’t do anything offensive, but because the subject matter was so personal and close to her, she was offended by my making light of the gravity of the situation.

But honestly, I do not know if we can progress the human race without learning to laugh at ourselves.

Would I think jokes about Alzheimer’s Disease were funny if I had it? Since I probably wouldn’t know–yes. (See? There are people who probably would find even that turnaround crass…)

All of us are going to get old, and that looming condition is both real and frightening at the same time. To approach it without some sort of good cheer is probably the greatest danger.

So I follow a simple philosophy: I try to find humor in everything, serious or not. It is not because I don’t care. It is because the only way to care is to relieve pain, not merely point it out.

We must be careful in a time when we are touting our personal feelings more than understanding our human need–that we don’t lose sight of the escapism of comedy.

I do not condone those who are rude and crude. I am not saying that any kind of disease is pleasant. I’m just saying that as an obese man, plagued with many of the complications associated with it, I have never gained ground by digging in my heels, weeping or looking for reasons to be offended.

The only light I’ve ever seen at the end of any of my tunnels … is humor.