This week: Memorial DayEdited by: May the Waltz Be With You
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"I had thought - I had been told - that a 'funny' thing is a thing of a goodness. It isn't. Not ever is it funny to the person it happens to. Like that sheriff without his pants. The goodness is in the laughing itself. I grok it is a bravery... and a sharing... against pain and sorrow and defeat."
- Valentine Michael Smith
Stranger in a Strange Land)
As I've mentioned before, there are certain subjects that are Not Ever Funny, and topping the list is probably the inspiration for Memorial Day, which was observed in the US this week. Honoring the people who laid down their lives to protect their friends, family and country is about as solemn as it gets, and I certainly wouldn't want to do anything to take away from their sacrifices.
That said, what the hell is up with Memorial Day, anyway? Truly, the meaning of the observance has changed over time from remembering the casualties of war to, what, finding the best bargains at Wal-Mart?
Okay, fine, things change over time, but when what we're memorializing is the wearing of black shoes (which I gather has to stop before Memorial Day weekend, which is when the Wearing of White Shoes begins), something ain't right.
And then there's the other time-honored Memorial Day tradition, the Raising of the Gas Prices. I mean, gas prices are high enough, but then Memorial Day comes along and all the oil companies immediately tack on another 10% to what they were charging in early May. How about we memorialize all the dead things in the Gulf of Mexico now, huh?
Oh, and let's not forget yet another important Memorial Day observance, which is the Increased Revenue from Speeding Tickets. Seriously, okay, you're driving down the interstate (speed limit 65) at 70 because otherwise the maniacs behind you will end up crawling up your tailpipe. They're coming up on you, flashing their lights, getting angry, and zipping past going at least 90, right? So in frustration and not a little fear you nudge your speedometer carefully up to 72, 73, 74, 75... which is exactly when the cop comes out and pulls YOU over, ignoring all the laughing out-of-state tourists zooming by like it's the Indy 500.
Come to think of it, that takes place on Memorial Day, too - but you're not in it because you're too busy trying not to be a smart-ass to the cop, who's asking you if you know how fast you were going.
Which reminds me of a joke:
This Yankee kid's blasting through Georgia at a very high speed when a state cop pulls him over.
"Son... do you know how fast you were going?"
"Um... I'm not sure?"
"I clocked you going 95 miles an hour. Son... no one goes 95 miles an hour through Georgia. No one!
Kid goes, "Sherman did."
The cop's report discussed at length the multiple contusions on the kid's face from slamming his own head into the steering wheel in remorse for his careless remark.
But we were discussing Memorial Day (which, originally, commemorated the end of the Civil War, so that joke was doubly relevant, yes?)
A Memorial Day Comedy Newsletter wouldn't be complete without a description of that other great American summer tradition, the cookout - but since Eddie Murphy ruined any other comedian's chance at ever making a cookout joke 'way back in 1983 with his "Delirious" stand-up routine, I won't even go there. Your wife's a bigfoot, isn't she, Gus?
Anyway, I hope y'all had a good one, and now that summer has officially started, go put on your white shoes, fill the car with gas by emptying your wallet, and speed your ass over to a cookout. You'll be glad you did! Unless you're not.
Some all-American comedy:
And some military ones:
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Last time, in "Comedy Newsletter (May 5, 2010)" , I went on about political humor, specifically the comedy stylings of the US president.
Thanks for the laughs this morning, and especially the link to the White House Correspondence dinner, which I had missed seeing (who can remember to DVR CSPAN anyway?) and enjoyed watching on youtube.
Our handsome and very funny president made a comedy killing at the dinner (putting Leno to shame, but let's face it, a stagnant pond or pocket lint would put Leno to shame) and that alone gets him my vote in 2012!
Glad you enjoyed it, Sophy! I'm not trying to get partisan here, but I definitely pick my candidates based on their sense of humor.
Great job on political comedy, Bill. I've missed your wit gracing the newsletters. Funny. Very funny.
Bill's a witty guy, but... I'm not Bill. Maybe we can convince him to do a guest appearance sometime.
And that's it for this week... next time, some more all-American comedy just in time for the Fourth of July. Until then,
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