by Jay O'Toole
I can pull quick one-liners out of the air, but can I be a stand-up comedian?
|Hello, Everyone! My name is JOT and I plan to make a mark on your evening. Like the name implies some will see the mark. Others will just see the big empty white space on the "rest of the page."
Actually, I was a little nervous about coming here to your wonderful "That's a Laugh!" Event. I'm not really sure that I'm all that funny. Some people tell me that I'm quick-witted. Others say I'm a half-wit. I suppose both of them have a point because I usually get a laugh about half the time.
For example, why is this format of story-telling called, "Stand-Up Comedy," when many of us fall on our faces?
That is probably the best reason for the most consistent type of laughter I have created in my life. It's like the phrase, "Great Capture!" that photographers use to congratulate each other. The picture is there. We just grab it with the camera.
The best comedy is like that. Observe life and capture the funny.
Yesterday was no exception. As I was walking through the produce department of my favorite grocery store I spotted a sign that read, "Leeks." I picked one to examine and noticed its tray on the shelf. Sure enough, there was water present. "Well, I guess it does," I thought to myself.
Of course, a little further on the bananas had a peel and with that, I must split from the grocery store.
What shall we talk about now? Oh, Yes! Let's talk about colors. Everybody loves colors, except for colorblind people. They're never accused of "looking at life through rose-colored glasses." I mention colorblindness, not to be unkind, but because all my uncles on my mother's side were colorblind. It never seemed to be a thing for them because they were all farmers, preachers, teachers, and car-makers. The farmers didn't have to worry about color-coordinating the peanuts nor the cotton plants at planting time. With the preachers and teachers, everything was always "black and white." The car-maker had a rhythm about putting everything in its place at the right time on the assembly line.
You might think that driving could be treacherous for colorblind people. However, they reassured me that knowing the position of the red light on the top of the stack was very helpful. However, towns with horizontal traffic lights probably made them want to get out and walk.
I, gratefully, on the other hand, am able to see the myriads of colors in the world. One day as I was working on a creative project I remembered just how much I love the color, blue. Expanding on that thought I realized that I am only one among many humans, who consider blue to be their favorite color. "WOW! Blue is a HUES success!" I thought and started laughing because HUES and HUGE are similar in sound.
"If you have to explain it, then it's not funny!" This thought has been repeated to me so many times I've started thinking my funny bone must be in a cast. Even that makes me laugh a little bit more because the thought gets expanded to wonder, "How did Shakespeare stage his comedies, when everyone was in a cast?"
You may be wondering, "Where did you get your start as a comedian?" I've started? May I come and give you a kiss on your cheek?
The FUNNY began to be defined in my life as I read those silly little joke books of my childhood. "Doctor, every time I drink coffee I get a sharp pain in my eye!" "Have you considered taking the spoon out of the cup before you take a drink?"
My parents were blessed with their own unique blend of humorous sensibilities. I honed my skills while listening to my dad wax eloquent. "Son, if it takes a hen and a half a day and a half to lay an egg and a half, then how long does it take a rooster to sit on a doorknob and hatch a key?" I gave him a blank stare. "Give up?" he asked. "Yeah, Dad! Of course!" "The rooster did, too." Then, he would throw his head back, giving that great belly laugh for which he was so famous.
Sometimes it seems slightly unfair that some comedians seem to be a natural at expressing things that are truly funny. Others, like me, may be able to pluck the fruit of humor from the tree of conversation, but trying to harvest the whole tree puts us in danger of falling into a broken heap at the bottom.
Why does humor exist for the human race? Did God create laughter? Is laughter an essential character of Who God is? Well, as I heard one preacher quip in a sermon during my youth, "I know God laughs! He created people!" Many of us are funny and we don't even know it.
I think Jesus has a great sense of humor. When He walked the Earth, He told a group of pompous teachers, "You strain at a gnat but swallow a camel." Now, that's funny stuff there!
Reader's Digest has a humor section, titled, "Laughter is the Best Medicine." How many people know that that concept was first written in the Bible's Book of Proverbs, chapter 17 and verse 22? "A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones."
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." This is the Bible's admonition to beware of bad people, who tend to corrupt everyone in their spheres of influence. However, a little levity can do just the opposite for the whole mess.
Well, JOT it down! There's a little humor for your day!
Word Count: 1078 words
by Jay O'Toole
on May 20th, 2017