Monday, February 13, 2012

Funny Faces

Andy Borowitz's book, The 50 Funniest American Writers, is a gem of an anthology. It's also insanely funny.

Borowitz takes a waltz through American history, reaching back to grab nuggets of humor from masters such as Mark Twain, but centers the bulk of his book on more contemporary masters such as Garrison Keillor and David Sedaris . . . as if writers have become funnier since the turn of the century.  Okay, so maybe they have.  

Regardless, it's also a fact that most editors always say that humor is the most difficult writing to obtain.  A great humor writer is worth his or her weight in gold.  I've been trying to write humor for years and I've not found an editor yet who thinks I'm funny.  Proof positive.

My wife, of course, thinks I'm funny.  That's why she married me.  She often says to me, "You think you're so funny."  I appreciate the affirmation, but she doesn't have to say this every day.  Twice a week would suffice.  A humorist doesn't need constant affirmation in order to find a reason to live.  He is perfectly willing to find humor in his odd assortment of T-shirts and boxes of Hamburger Helper.  He appreciates the fact that his family laughs at him incessantly and this is enough for him to die a happy man.  He laughs at death also.

A humor writer is loved by his family, too.  His kids think he's funny, and they often make faces at him behind his back.  He is respected in this manner for his fine work and his children are appreciative of the $3.95 royalty checks he receives twice a year for his various humor writings.  He can't wait to cash these checks so he can purchase cat food and/or a can of assorted nuts.

In the end, or course, the humorist is just a guy like anyone else.  He doesn't want to be put on a pedestal or worshipped from afar.  He just wants to write in his underwear in perfect anonymity, alone at night on the sofa, with a pile of peanut shells forming a pyramid in his belly button.  He wants his wife to love him and mean it, and he wants to make her laugh before they go to bed at night . . . which is rare . . . as the humorist often sleeps alone, or falls asleep on the couch, dreaming of other laughter and other times and new packages of briefs. 

The laughter is his life.  And everything else is gravy. 

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