COMEDY IS HARD

Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.

What could possibly go wrong? Life is one hilarious disaster after another. The moment you flash on having finally gotten it together, it falls apart.


Life in shreds? Out of work? Evicted? Hiding from the repo guy? Other half dump you? Medication not working? Bank threatening to foreclose? Don’t take it personally. It’s just a little irony from Karmic Life, Inc.

drinks table dinner

Disaster is life’s cute and funny way of pointing out how little control you have over your fate. Don’t cry. No one likes a cry-baby. Smile! That’s it! Go on. No suffering allowed. No one wants to hear your sad story … unless you turn it into a funny story! Then everyone wants to listen.

Stories of hideous mistakes and horrendous outcomes are the stuff of terrific after-dinner conversation. A few drinks can transform them into hilarity. Misery fuels humor. It’s a fact. Misery, mistakes, and disasters are high comedy. Funny movies are not about people having fun. They’re about people in trouble, with everything going wrong, lives in ruins.

75-DFLobby-HP-1

There’s a fine line between comedy and a tragedy. Mostly, it’s all about the ending. Tragedies end with piles of corpses. Comedies (usually) don’t. Otherwise, it’s mostly timing.

Funny stories weren’t funny when they happened. Later, with perspective, they’re funny. After I was told I had cancer in both breasts (they were having a two-for-one-special at Dana-Farber), I had them removed and replaced by silicon implants, but stopped short of adding fake nipples. Previous surgeries having left me with no naval, I now present myself as a space alien. You don’t believe me? It’s true.

And about those fake tits: I own tee shirts that say “Yes, they are fake. My real ones tried to kill me.” It’s a big hit at parties, the high point of my cancer experience.

Fake breasts

Ironically — there’s that word again — a mere two years later, my heart needed a complete overhaul. The ultimate irony because I’d been telling everyone my heart was the only organ that worked properly.

When life goes to Hell in the proverbial hand basket, a lot of people who were sort of friends eye you with suspicion. Is bad luck contagious? There’s also a subtle whiff of satisfaction. They wouldn’t be so rude as to say it aloud, but they are overjoyed it happened to you, not them.

If you are a writer, out of the wreckage may emerge a book — or at least a Freshly Pressed badge from WordPress. See? It wasn’t for nothing.

Personal traumas are collateral damage in our Darwinian battle for survival. No one gets through life unscathed. Mindful of future tragedy lurking down the road, prepare some clever repartee. You can give it a test drive at the next get-together with your more successful friends.

As a bonus, you’ll truly appreciate the humor (irony?) when your friends’ lives go to pieces. It will be your turn to have a good laugh. In private. Later.

27 thoughts on “COMEDY IS HARD

  1. Pingback: Put on a happy face | wtf Am I On About Now?

  2. It’s so much better to laugh than to cry. It seems so many people prefer to do the latter, but I enjoy poking fun at my own misfortunes just as much as I relish reading about those humorous tales of woe from others. It’s even better when you can take out your frustrations in life on a hapless bunch of fictional characters…

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  3. Pingback: A year of WTF | wtf Am I On About Now?

        • It was where I went for followup care. Actually, for the most part, cancer patients are treated very well. Most places try hard to keep the stress levels down. The same is true for Beth Israel’s heart surgery unit. No place is perfect, but if you need to be somewhere, I think Beth Israel is as good as it gets.

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          • I found that to be true of our Roswell Park Cancer Center. The first time I went there to visit a cancer patient, I was impressed by how uplifting the atmosphere was – lots of light and open spaces.

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            • Cancer treatment centers understand that recovery and stress are antithetical, so they do their best to make things as pleasant as possible. Cancer is stressful, regardless, so they do what they can to keep from adding to the stress and for the most part, do a pretty good job.

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  4. I think humor is our way of simply showing that we’re still fighting. Cancer and heart transplants are definitely not funny, but certain incidents that occur during the process might be – things like unthinkingly giving a post-abdominal surgery patient a DVD to watch that is so funny, the patient nearly (literally) splits his stitches. After the patient’s surgical recovery, it made a great story and was one of the few bright spots in his hospitalization.

    I hope your vacation is totally uneventful – no need to bring us back funny stories about calamities – Mom says.

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  5. Razor sharp and ow, the truth. Funny, your paragraph “Disaster is life’s cute and funny way of pointing out how little control you have over your fate. Don’t cry. No one likes a cry-baby. Smile! That’s it! Go on. No suffering allowed. No one wants to hear your sad story … unless you turn it into a funny story! Then everyone wants to listen.” is nearly word for word what I was going to write today (or tomorrow) as part of a look back over the year of this (my) blog.

    I laugh, a lot, even when things are bad. It is the stifling of the suffering, though, that is the kicker. Laughter isn’t the only medicine, nor is it always the best one.

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    • Laughter is often the only medicine I can afford or which is available when I need it. I have not had much luck with medication. My body doesn’t respond like it’s supposed to, so a lot of stuff that’s supposed to make me feel better not only doesn’t make me feel better … it makes me feel worse. There are so many drugs I’m either allergic to, or which have serious — potentially lethal — side effects, I just won’t take them.

      Even though drugs are usually not an option, I still have to cope. I can’t take drugs, so I do the best you can without them. Supportive husband, quiet life — when I’m not dying of something or the family isn’t melting down. I keep busy, work hard to stay grounded, centered. To not obsess over things I can’t fix.

      Writing. Photography. Finding the funny amidst the rubble.

      I have as good results doing what I do than most of the people I know have with complicated drug regimens. And at least I don’t have to worry whether or not my “cure” is actually killing me. I’m pretty sure the heart problems are the direct result of earlier “drug therapies” for cancer and other things.

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  6. We own the same shirt~! I do start to wonder if I should send you a dictionary, somehow you don’t seem to get what the word “vacation” means. You need to rest young Lady. Go have fun and take breathtaking pictures, so I can beg for a calendar once more 🙂

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    • I drink coffee to “do computer.” Garry too. It’s just the way we start the day. When we are in Cooperstown and Vermont, I’m sure it will be a little different 🙂 I used to have another one of these in black, but it disappeared. I probably left it in a hotel room or gave it to a friend, but don’t remember. I know post-mastectomy woman who have this tattooed on their body somewhere.

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  7. I grew up in a family (especially dad) that loved black humour and let’s look on the dark side of life. Mr. Swiss now and again says to me “not everyone understands your sense of humour”, so I have to dampen it a bit. We cockneys tend to have our own expressions on life, but believe me you would not get the humour, and we laugh. I loved the humour with “Freshly Pressed” especially the word fresh which can be interpreted in various ways.

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    • Thanks, Pat. Garry and I believe that one should NEVER say things like “What could possibly go wrong” because within minutes, something will go wrong. We have our own little black humor colony here, Garry and I. We have to be careful because other people really don’t get us, so we have to settle for making each other laugh. Humor is often the only available defense against despair. It has been the saving grace of poor and oppressed peoples everywhere, so I’m not surprised you have your own. Why not? Jewish ghetto humor is hilarious … as long as you don’t examine it too closely!

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      • I grew up in part of London with a large jewish population. My Aunt Lil’s favourite song she sang at a party was “my yiddishe mama, I loved to kiss her furrowed brow” I can hear her now and no, we were not jewish, but descended from the Huguenots. that is part of my background I would never want to miss.

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        • Yes, I see. Left a comment 🙂 I just read a book with that actual title in which, to no one’s surprise, everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. We are afraid to even let the thought flutter through our mind, lest it bring a jinx upon us. When things are going well, the best thing you can do is shut up about it. You don’t want to tempt the gods. They have an odd, Puckish sense of humor.

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