A Joke Is a Very Serious Thing

Everyone likes to think they have a sense of humor, but those of use who actually do have a sense of humor eventually find out that’s just not true.  I learned this life lesson back in high school, when I attempted to defuse the anger of an individual who didn’t find me  particularly amusing by diplomatically suggesting that she “get a sense of humor, for fuck’s sake.”  She replied, “What makes you think you have a sense of humor?  Because you laugh at your own jokes?”  That comment stung and like most life lessons, it still hurts.

The truth is, I do laugh at my own jokes. I’m my own best audience.

Am I a joker or an asshole? The jury is still out.  (I can guess which way Paula Goldstein is voting.)

Fast forward a year to another low point in my comedy career.  During my freshman year in college, a dorm mate and I thought it would be simply hilarious to take all the clothes of a girl we didn’t much like (sigh.  Yes.  I was kind of an asshole) and put them into the showers.  To our credit (I guess?) we didn’t turn on the showers; we just put the clothes in there.   And then we scampered off, giggling.  We really thought this was funny until the liquor wore off just as Paula Goldstein came charging down the hallway screaming that she was going to kill us.

I still lie awake some nights and suffer pangs of guilt over this long ago practical joke, which was stupid and mean and not at all funny. But I’ve started to forgive myself just a little bit after reading this article about what passes for practical jokes in other parts of the world: Disgust over Mock Abduction of Kyrgyz TV Reporter.  Over in Kyrgyzstan, you don’t throw someone’s clothes into the shower.  No, in Kyrgyzstan, you kidnap a woman, make her strip down to her undies, hold a gun to her head and ask for her “last words,” all the while recording these shenanigans on a mobile phone.  As if that weren’t side splitting hilarious enough, the perpetrators of this “prank” were reporters from a local newspaper who wrote a “practical joke column” and were planning on using this abduction as material for their column.

The incident has caused outrage on social media in Kyrgyzstan, with many questioning how the reporters could have found their actions funny.

See?  Not everyone has a sense of humor.

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