Archives for posts with tag: Humor

Louie CK hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend. His comedy has always had a spiritual, compassionate lean. He pokes at the deepest parts of our psyche, at the darkest bits of humanity. By poking us there and getting us to laugh he plants these thoughts in our head. Maybe I should give a damn about other humans? Maybe I do take myself too seriously? Do yourself a favor and watch the monologue. You’ll be a better person for it:

Do yourself a favor and watch the monologue. You’ll be a better person for it:

Louie CK Monologue

There. You’re a better person. Boom.

Anyways, what I’m really here to talk about is the Kate Mckinnon and Aidy Bryant skit:


These ladies have quickly risen to their rightful status as two of the brightest stars on SNL. Maybe some of the best they’ve had in years. One of their strengths, as writers and sketch actors, is knowing who they are and who they represent. Instead of fighting their labels, claiming they are not the token lesbian and token average girl in the cast, they own it.

Watch and giggle:Dyke and Fats

Like Louie’s humor this touches on something that makes us a little uncomfortable. We’re not quite sure if we can laugh at the title. You can’t say that. You can’t call her that. Yet the punch line hinges on love not humiliation. They use this derogatory language because it’s a recognition of their shared suffering. (Maybe it’s more of a shared tolerance in this case.) This is the best kind of humor. The most human kind of humor. We’re in the on the joke. Labels and overgeneralizations hit that itchy kind of soft spot where we must laugh because laughing keeps us from crying.

This brand of humor allows me to make fun of my brother for looking so damn dapper in his suit jacket. I know he doesn’t like to dress up. I know it embarrasses him to hear he’s turned from a cute little freckled baby into a handsome freckle-faced freshman. I know so I tease. He may disagree how kind this actually is but he’s wrong. It’s love.

The moment caught mid-mockery:


Sibling tolerance at its purest.

If you have half a negative thought about this kid, I’ll kick your ass.


As the blog title shows, I have a common name.

This amazing website tells me I have the 19th most common name among registered American voters. As such, I’ve never had the specific, silly joy of experiencing a Starbucks fail.

Until today:


Elzbat? Elizbarf?

My goodness I must have had marbles in my mouth when I ordered that.

Comedian, Laurie Kilmartin, is currently live-tweeting her father’s death. As vulgar as it might sound in concept, in practice it seems pretty amazing:


I can relate to this kind of gallows humor – a dark kind of humor that touches at a place of discomfort and recognition all at once. It’s uncomfortable because it’s familiar. Viscerally true. Humor doesn’t cover the grief. Humor allows one to sneak up on a difficult emotion before it has a chance to hide again.

I’m not on Twitter but projects like this make me think I should be. See more of Laurie Kilmartin’s wonderful madness here. But be warned:


As a fourth grader, during a winter much like this one, I sat in my elementary school gym. The PE teacher – missing two finger tips from his days as a shop teacher – explained the rules of our next game. The kind of complex game a brutal, hibernation worthy winter necessitated. Stay on the lines. No passing. Save your friends from jail. On and on.

A classmate asked a complicated question about the complicated game. I just wanted to play. I said, “That’s like asking what do I do if a burglar comes and the house is on fire and I can’t find my shoes and there is a tornado outside.” Everyone laughed. That’s how I got my first laugh.

I was an awkward, unpopular kid. Knock-kneed and a little chunky. A little nerdy:


That laugh filled my chubby little chest with joy. I felt like I fit in. Something I said had changed the feeling of the room. The tension lifted and even the butt of my joke smiled.

Making people laugh feels like you have a superpower. For a moment, time stops. You can see the space between words. The timing of the room. During this pause, your reaction has the power to spread joy like a little bolt of lightning. Something unexpected. Something that fits within that unseen space. The joy bounces from the listener back to you. God it feels good.

Last night, at my grown up gym, I made some people laugh again. A quip about the weather. Hating my life not the workout. Funny on the basis of shared suffering? These people who were grimacing against their effort smiled and laughed. The mood lifted.

Maybe I’m over analyzing it but I sure do love making people laugh.

Sarah Silverman is a genius. Her writing has always been thoughtful, with hidden gems of insight and humor that force you to pay attention. However, previous work has often given priority to shock value over the compassion. This new special has taken a delightful turn.


Here are some quotes from the show that I can’t resist sharing (I don’t care if it’s lazy blogging, these lines are brilliant, you’ll see):

-“We live in the greatest country in the world. A country where we have freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Only we don’t at all and nobody says anything because we’re used to it.”

-Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake. Not because they can’t but because it would have never occurred to them they couldn’t. You’re planning that seed in their heads. It’s like saying, “hey when you get in the shower I’m not going to read your diary.” “Are you going to read my diary?” “What are you crazy? I just said I’m not going to ready your diary, get in the shower.”

If you don’t have HBO, find a friend who does. Steal their HBO GO. Sneak into your neighbor’s apartment when they’re gone and watch their cable. Find a way. Watch this special. I’m pretty sure it will make you a better person.

I’ve always known my television choices say a lot about me.

Then tonight shit got real:

We here in the Midwest must convince folks on the coasts that we aren’t silly, rural bumpkins. Life is real here. We have problems. We have joy. Cows don’t wander the streets. Our kids don’t walk to oneroom-schoolhouses barefoot. Most of us have enough of our teeth to chew our own food.  Then, well, things like this end up on the news…

… and I have to say, “Ok, sometimes we’re bumpkins.”


Today arrived and the girlfriend photographed me to prove it:

Other than being unable to let go of the poodle, the anxiety was for naught. Shocking, right? I arrived on time. My alarm didn’t fail. My head didn’t explode. I didn’t make a fool of myself – I don’t think – and the other new folks seem nice enough. What can I say? It’s a job.

I’ll let you know in a few months if the folks are so still nice.

Last week, as the drunken folks walked home from the bars, some kid yelled, “Anything is possible!”

Today I saw this:

*A Garfield on Garfield Street.

The wariness I once felt for the roving bands of neighborhood teenagers might have been misplaced.

Yesterday, the girlfriend and I officially announced our engagement. Family, friends, facebook (in that order).

Then we waited for the likes to roll in, the facebook love, the affirmation of our relationship, the approval we don’t want to admit we need in these modern times.

Then, well, things got a little tense.

All of our mutual friends (even those friends of mine who had only met the girlfriend long enough to deem a friend request appropriate) liked her status. Only her status. As her likes reach closer and closer to 100, mine have stabilized around 30. Obviously her likes are my likes. People like the relationship thus they like us both. Oy, I’m tired of saying like. But this division is like a gnat buzzing in my ear. It seems to work like this: I requested the relationship change and she accepted. Thus, with her action being final, she ends up in the newsfeed. Why would facebook integrate this kind of divisive coding into its rulebook and not combine the likes as it did with this adorable picture of us?

Let me be clear, facebook is not really ruining my engagement. I’m head over heels in love. I’m stoked. I’m already dreaming of the Target registry and planning the reception. Though I’m not sure how I’ll wear my hair…

This simply isn’t a problem I expected to encounter. History says the good ‘ol days never were. Life has always been hard. Yet here, in this particularly modern conundrum, I can’t help but wish for a simpler time.

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