|Posted by ruthsmithmeyer-com on February 8, 2012 at 9:25 PM|
In my youth a friend who would ask, when someone said “That’s funny!”
“Do you mean funny ha ha or funny queer?”
Laughter is healthy and the ability to laugh at ourselves is vital to our well-being. It can say a lot about our sense of self-acceptance. But humour can also be a risky thing. What one person finds funny, to another can be plain stupid—over-the-top—or to another even offensive. A sentence or comment from one person can have us howling with laughter. The same sentence from another can feel like an insult or a put-down. From another, it may fall flat leaving listeners bored. There is such a wide variety when it comes to sense of humour.
Several years ago a co-worker and I sometimes needed to choose a video for a group to watch. We soon learned we couldn’t agree on what was funny. What I chose bored her to tears. What she chose I thought was too stupid to be funny. The thing that was really comical is that when we took turns to choose, we found some of the group appreciated her humour and some appreciated mine.
The same happens in writing humour. Don Harron as Charlie Farquharson amused many people. My first husband really enjoyed listening to him. We went once to see Don and his wife Catherine. They were quite a team, each playing several parts. We thoroughly enjoyed them and went home feeling light-hearted the way you do after a good laugh.
Then Don’s Charlie Farquharson’s Histry of Canada was published. It made a perfect gift for my husband. The first day he had it indicated what was to happen through the whole book. He sat in his chair reading and soon his shoulders began to shake, then he chuckled and chuckled some more.
Eventually he laid the book on his knee and laughed until the tears streamed down his face. When he was laughed out, he wiped his eyes, picked up the book and began to read. Soon his shoulders shook, he chuckled and chuckled some more until the book landed on his knee again while he laughed until he cried. You get the picture.
When I asked him to read the part that was so funny, he said, “It’s all funny, but it just builds up until you can’t contain the mirth.”
I couldn’t quite see how Charlie could be that much more funny in a book then on TV or at a show. So I read some. Then I saw for myself. The spelling Don used did add much to the humour. I never listened to Charlie again without envisioning the spelling of the words he voiced.
We really enjoyed Charlie’s humour, but some of our friends couldn’t have cared less.
Erma Bombeck was another writer who cheered a lot of us. Her humour was actually a lot of truth stated in ways that made us smile. For instance, House guests should be regarded as perishables: Leave them out too long and they go bad. It makes us smile because we’ve been there. Her humour was quite universal, but I’m sure there were some who didn’t find her that funny.
We have great humourists in The Word Guild. I’d love to be one of them, but much as I like a good laugh, it doesn’t seem to be one of my gifts to write it.
People are delightfully different. Humour isn’t a one size fits all. But cultivate it. It’s healthy. They say that everyone should have a good belly laugh each day to keep mentally and physically healthy. So find your type of humour and enjoy!