Monday, February 16, 2009

We Professional Humorists, part 23

We professional humorists never forget where we were when we said something which tickled our own funny bone. Par example (and don't be put off by my suddenly lapsing into French, I spent four days there on a teen tour and so you can understand why I don't even notice anymore when I use the French instead of English)... Um, where was I?

Oh yes. What I was saying is that for the professional humorist, a conversation with a fellow human being can be a wondrous chance to say something funny, which then you will never forget, even if you forget the context, which might have been something grave or dire to the other person. Or you might forget the other person. For example (wait, did I do it again? Mais non, I didn't. Phew!), they might be talking about the death of their mother, and you might make a hilarious Whistler's Mother joke. Or they might be discussing a break up and you might use that opportunity to check your voice mail. Or they might be talking about ducks and you would make a joke about orange juice. And then you would remember the orange juice, but not what ducks are.

Allow me to tell you about last night. Are you sitting down? You'll want to be standing up for this.

So a friend was talking about the idea of a theater which served soup. Naturally I asked what kind. "Broth," was the answer. "Bouillon?" I asked, proud of my extensive knowledge of clear soups. "Probably some water with a couple chicken bones thrown in," he quipped. "OK so what you're really talking about is stock," I parried, coolly. And then it hit me: "You should serve the soup in the summer!" I shrieked, also coolly. "You could call it... SUMMER STOCK!"

"That's terrible," he said, as if deliberately dodging my speeding humor bullet. No worries though, I was armed with a humor fusillade (a fusillade is when you shoot someone with a continuous spray of fusilli).

"You could call it... SUMMER STOCK!" I announced again, in between cartwheels. "Oh, come on!" I intoned, balancing one foot on the head of a sea lion. "SUMMER STOCK!" I yelled, shooting myself out of a cannon. "You know, because it's summer and you're serving stock, and it's a theater!" I explained, because sometimes the little people need your help and also I had extra time while waiting for the trapeze swing to return to me.

"You know... like... SUMMER STOCK!" I yodeled, coolly, from inside the snapping jaws of a crocodile.

"Oh yeah, because what people want in the summer is hot soup," he offered.

"Fine, then just serve gazpacho and don't use the clever theater pun," I said ruefully, mounting a tortoise and heading offstage.

Anyway though, I'll always have "SUMMER STOCK!" which comes in a can and a handy snack pack and features macaroni thespians (chicken and "stars"... get it?) and also tiny comedy and drama masks made out of farina. It's Broadway in a bowl, which might be the slogan, although it's also The Catskills in a bowl and Peoria in a bowl and Branson in a giant bowl.


drakep said...

The best part is,(assuming your friend is "sans benefits" {wtf? me too?} meaning that you won't screw up your relationship {see what I did there? No? You will}, ah... where was I.... OH, it means that the future looks like this:

5 yrs out: Y: "Summer Stock!" He: "Not even close to funny. Still."
10 yrs out: Y: "Summer.." He: "Oh so not even in the same cell block as funny."
15 yrs out: Y "Sum..." He: F-ck you!"

On second thought, better sleep with him. He'll tell you what a riot you are!

Cheers, DP

Joe said...

I think your friend is the kind of person you tell a joke to and they say, "That's terrible," and they then proceed to tell the same joke to 25 of their friends. Because they really thought it was funny in the first place. I do that all the time. Not really.

Toddrod said...

Alison, I had to read this post twice because it confused me a little. You were talking about when you meet with fellow humorists. However, it seems to me you were pushing your humor onto one of your friends who was just trying to say, "No" to your aggressive approach. Methinks you are a humor pusher!


alison said...

No, see, first I was writing from the voice I also wrote those "how to be funny" stories from which is that of a self-important, misguided comedian/humorist who is only vaguely connected to reality, if that. And this person is not me for myriad reasons. Chief among them? I've never gone on a teen tour but have been to France a number of times but never accidentally lapse into French, comprenez vous?

Alors, then I shifted into telling an actual story from last night however the animals and cartwheels were made up because I can't do a cartwheel to save my life. It's more like I sort of throw myself on the ground and then flail around which is also how I break dance.

And yes, I'm a total humor pusher. I fear I'm becoming... my dad.

Incidentally I write from a number of different voices on this blog and just assume they'll be as clear on the page as they are in my head (that sounds crazier than intended) but maybe I need to enlist some kind of icons? And give them all names? Hm.

Toddrod said...

Oh hey! Thanks, Alison, for trying to clarify your mind's vision for me! I must admit that I am easily confused (or distracted). I just need to work on my flexibility in picturing what you are writing, and trying to equate that to what I am actually reading. Most of my reading is simplified. If you drew more cartoons, I'd have less of a problem perhaps. Additionally, your dad sounds like a fantastic dude. I wish he had a blog.


Toddrod said...

I forgot to add in my last post, do you think your dad can hook me up with some humor? I figured since he is in California, it's much closer than your New York humor! Thanks in advance!


Trapp said...

Sometimes I find it difficult to get a joke across in writing, like the way you tell someone a funny story, but you really had to be there. Or maybe it was because we were all stoned. I forget. Anyway, now I've got the munchies. What was I saying?

You always seem to figure out a way around it, but I've given up on that, and instead, am trying to invent a reader-intuitive laugh track for my blogs.