When I was a kid, I figured out that if you made a joke that made someone laugh, it also made them (and me) feel good. I liked the feeling of being the funny one, so when things were too serious, or tense, I could always lighten things up. Making fun sometimes could hurt feelings though, and I learned that being funny had a price, perhaps with missteps in the principal’s office, or in trouble with my parents, or embarrassing myself more than I wished to, but I have learned the boundaries of comedy.
know your audience.
know your boundaries.
be honest. be yourself.
I think these are great rules to live by as a mature adult too. So often, I feel that grown people can’t even manage this simple practice.
When I think of my role models for comedy, I don’t think of my role models for comedy. I think of who made me laugh out loud when I was young and then also a bit older. I loved Lily Tomlin, Bill Murray, the very dirty Elaine Boosler. Joan Rivers wasn’t on my list until I got a bit older and could stay up to see her on Johnny Carson. The Saran Wrap joke is one that I will always remember.
Joan Rivers sometimes got pretty mean in her jokes, and it’s the one style of comedy that I don’t really like. Funny doesn’t have to be mean. I loved Joan Rivers jokes where she was self-deprecating and would make fun of herself being old, or wrinkly, or in all types of ways inadequate. She was putting the joke out there, before anyone else could do it. I can resonate with that.
I saw a special memorial show on her tonight, on ABC, that showed her as shy, a good mom, respectful of fellow comics, a caring wife, a good samaritan, a hard working professional, an organizer (she wrote and cataloged all of her one-liner jokes. crazy organized. cataloged. like a library, people!) and much more. Remembering her as a multi-faceted individual is a true tribute to her as a person. So much life she lived. A model for living life to it’s fullest for sure. Farewell and rest in peace, Joan Rivers.