A little humour is a good thing

Reckonings column by Della Mallette, Nov. 11 Grand Forks Gazette.

I’m bombarded with news at work. When I get home I usually watch the 6 o’clock news on Global, and I often fall asleep with The National telling me even more news of the day. When a commercial comes on a fictional TV show I’m watching, I often channel-surf to CNN.

It really is best if I watch a show I’ve PVRed—I’ll forget the news for at least 40 minutes (we all know that’s all an hour-long show really is, right?).

Watching too much news and current affairs has actually been shown to have a depressing effect. I’m sure there’s thousands of studies out there that I could reference, but I don’t think anyone disputes this statement.

I love comedy—not so much slapstick movies, but stand-up comedy and the late-night talk shows featuring the likes of Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon; Jon Stewart, too, of course, before he left The Daily Show.

I admit watching late-night talk shows isn’t completely getting away from the news. Colbert is especially good at political commentary thinly (very thinly) disguised as humour. But with a U.S. Republican nomination race featuring the likes of Donald Trump in the lead of a herd-full of candidates, how can a comedian ignore the news?

Stand-up comedy is sometimes about current events, but often about everyday life. Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck if…” schtick is a great example.

“You might be a redneck if you spend 40 hours a week at Wal-Mart, but don’t work there”; or, “your financial planner told you to buy lottery tickets; and “your primary source of income is a pool stick.”

Many comedy fans still remember Mitch Hedberg even though he passed away 10 years ago now.

His comedy typically featured short, sometimes one-line jokes mixed with absurd elements. (“Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.”)

John Pinette, who is also no longer with us, told clean jokes that were incredibly funny—he showed us that nobody needs to swear to get a laugh. (“I have gotten a trainer. I went to the gym and I saw him and he said ‘Give me a sit up,’ and I said ‘Oh nay, nay.’ I go ‘I don’t do ups: sit ups, push ups, pull ups. I do do downs. I will sit down, I will lay down. Give me a cheeseburger, I’ll wolf that down. But no ups.’”)

I hope that made you laugh, because everyone needs a bit of humour in their lives.

That’s why I’ve promised myself that one day I will go to the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal.

Tip to employers: I think that the best bonus a workplace could give is a gift of humour—a book of jokes, tickets to a comedy playing at the GEM, two tickets to the Just For Laughs festival…. (yes, that suggestion did get me a laugh!)

I’ve mentioned before that last year an old college friend, Rita, and I reconnected and went on a trip. We first talked about it after I said I wanted to go to Montreal. We started checking festival dates, time off work, prices…and Rita remarked that it was just as cheap to fly overseas than it was to Montreal in August.

So we went to Italy and France. Oh well. One day I will get to go to Just For Laughs, I reckon.

 

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