Heavy Logix.

Lateral Thoughts on Life.

Be Happy !!

Someone recently asked me how I got my amazing sense of humor. I’d actually been asked the question several times before, because my sense of humor is legendary, matched only by my extreme humility. I thought about it carefully, for a whole second, and then told them that it’s really just a self-defense mechanism.

My sense of humor has saved my Life.

It’s just a way of looking at things. I developed it over time from a variety of experiences, most of them quite bitter.  Instead of being angry and sad, I choose to Be Happy and laugh. This laughter is usually internal though, I try to keep a deadpan, clown-like, look on my face. It’s useful when playing Poker too. I see the absurd in situations even when it’s happening to me. The issues underlying my best jokes are usually very serious.

Shakespeare himself realized how closely tragedy and comedy were related that’s why he was able to master both forms. His play Comedy of Errors, for example, tells of a man’s tragic life experiences.

The most serious or tragic experiences can be uplifting if we choose to remain positive. If we continue to search for the Silver Lining in every Dark Cloud. Even heavy topics like Racism and World Wars have been made into the backdrops for comedy. The Jerk, starring Steve Martin, was about a white man who thought he was black and “Allo, Allo” remains a cult favorite worldwide.

I was watching the Jeffersons one night and suddenly realized that maybe 98% of the comedy on TV is just about insulting someone. Seeing someone in a terrible situation or being insulted (and realizing that it’s not us) automatically makes us laugh or feel better.

Even religious leaders and Spiritual Gurus have noticed this aspect of the human condition. In the Book “The Art of Happiness”, the Dalai Lama suggests that comparing yourself to others, worse off than you, will make you feel better. My mom would always notice when I was having a rough time and say “It could be Worse”.

You just fell off your bicycle and broke your arm ? Well smile because it could have been worse.

strength

Some of the greatest comedians in the world are really just magnets for the worst that can happen in any given situation. Rodney Dangerfield, Woody Allen, Chevy Chase …they all live by Murphy’s Law.

Rowan Atkinson, best known in Jamaica as Mr. Bean, is that rare type of comedic genius who doesn’t even need words to elicit a laugh. Like Charlie Chaplin he gets into ridiculous situations and then his physical exploits and his facial expressions while he tries to get out of the sticky jam invariably leaves us crying with laughter or rolling on the ground.

Peter Sellers, in shows like The Party, adds the aspect of imitation to his Mr. Bean type roles. After Sellers played the role of an Indian man accidentally invited to the Party, his Indian friend Satyajit Ray took offence and never spoke to him again.

That’s the danger of  this type of comedy, those who feel the joke is “on them” won’t find it funny at all. They may even plot some form of revenge, remembering the adage, “he who laughs last laughs best”.

A higher form of comedy is that of Larry David. His show “Curb your Enthusiasm” and his work with the Seinfeld series is classic. It is a brand of humour not based solely on insults or feelings of superiority over others. He uses a shrewd insight into human nature and the absurdity of common place experiences that we can all relate to.

In an episode of “Curb your Enthusiasm”  Larry David dealt with the most serious eternal problem all couples face. No, not problems in communication, finances or sex, he dealt with the real tough one. Men leave the toilet seat up and Women want it down. David’s character actually is a man so lazy that he sits even when he pees and his wife is a drunkard who lifts the seat up because she throws up in the toilet after over drinking. This type of reversal of roles is a key to most great comedy. Of course, the couple now argue because the wife left the seat up.

Jamaica is blessed with great comedians too. Ity and Fancy Cat, Glen Campbell, Oliver Samuels and Simon Crosskill, to name a few.

Simon Crosskill how did he get on that list ? Yes, he may not be slapstick or crude, but he has the insight of a Larry David, the genius of a Dr. Bill Cosby. I think he should do his own Late Night show like David Letterman or Jay Leno. Although Simon’s uncanny chemistry with Neville Bell makes them a great team to watch sadly I usually miss the morning show because of work. He’d do well in his own show. He’s versatile enough to intelligently argue with political guests and sports heroes too.

team

Simon Crosskill can be very serious at times, during the celebrations of our athletic victories he said;

” As we celebrate the performances of our athletes it would serve us well to remember from whence they came. Remember that next time you are tempted to think you are better than someone, because of how they look, or speak, or which ghetto they come from. Remember that every Jamaican, no matter rich or poor, black brown or white, has the ability to be a world beater, if given a chance to develop his or her talent. Why do so many Jamaicans exist without social and economic benefits ? Some would say most of our people are lazy. It’s a lie perpetuated by those who are unwilling to create policies that would help spread the enormous wealth of this country. Who would dare label Shelly from Waterhouse and Melanie from Maxfield, lazy.But how many of us who have the wherewithal to make a difference even know where Waterhouse is ?”

Serious if and when required, but usually though, Simon Crosskill delivers his insights in a humorous way, sometimes even just  as a question. Like on his Facebook page he once asked, (not in these exact words), “Why is it that you can get everything and anything at a gas station convenience store yet you cannot get air for your tires there ?”. He was highlighting a strange paradox that occurs frequently in Jamaica because our crime rate is so high that people even steal the air hoses from the gas stations.

In Jamaica we realize sense of humor is a means of self preservation that’s why we “tek serious ting mek joke “. Seeing the problems and still being able to laugh while solving them is a very serious business.  The Court Jester must force the King to realize his nakedness. The Motley Fool, comedian, political satirist or clown has the serious task of making us ask why things are the way they are and urge us to seek better. They carry truth into closed minds and enter freely into power circles others would fear to tread.

Without these brave geniuses around we’d probably all just curl up and die after freezing with fear.

Instead, with a sense of humor, we can see the tragic and the painful, perhaps even more acutely than others. We are sensitive to the problems but we are also aware of the power of “reversal”. We know things can change completely and in a flash, one banana peel, one misstep and Goliath will fall. One pie, thrown in the face, of a haughty business man or politician, will show them who is really the don, and even as we seem to lose, or when we’re even forced to cry, we know that we will get the last laugh.

We live by a simple credo, a simple code, one that is difficult to explain, or even understand, at times, given the enormous challenges of life.

Be Happy !!

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October 18, 2009 - Posted by | blog, humor, movies, non fiction, philosophy, Psychology, sports, Strategy, success, suicide, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Excellent writing, with clear, complex sentences and flow. You’re right, humor is a powerful tool. I hope you become the successful novelist you hope to become.

    Comment by humorousreview | October 18, 2009 | Reply

  2. when referring to an individual as a genius, the most correct plural is genii (that’s three syllables). This is because genius is derived from Latin. It is the first-person masculine singular form of the word. The first-person masculine plural is genii.

    Comment by Polonius | October 20, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thanx Polonius I was actually wondering about that. I notice I also use some American spelling for certain words although in my country it’s normal to use English spelling.

    Comment by heavylogix | October 22, 2009 | Reply

  4. This was an excellent read. I will try to remember this now as well, because we are in really challenging times. Thanks.

    Comment by Mad Bull | October 26, 2009 | Reply


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