Friday, January 8, 2021

Make 'em Laugh!

 So I'm going to lay it out for you.  I have Juvenile Onset Clinical Depression. Never going to go away.  They figure it's from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome that I was lucky enough to dodge in the womb, although I got a little on me.  My poor 15 year old mother must have looked like she was carrying a bag of bullfrogs when she walked across the room, with me in there trying to get out from under the Mad Dog-Everclear showerhead in there.

Now, every single day of my life is an exercise in fighting off that well-worn groove, because I was in my late-ish twenties before I got that diagnosis figured out, and the angel Prozac blessed me with relief.  Because you still carry those ingrained thinking patterns in your mind, you see, and while you might not be feeling like everything is made of shit, you're still habitually sniffing to make sure, if you see what I mean, and I know that you do.

The first thing in the morning when I wake up, the last thing I ever had seriously mess with my mellow and piss me off is right there.  Right there waiting on my pillow.  And my first response is to start in bitching. "Yeah, you thought you were sly but you found out different ya idiot," I'll mutter.  And if I let myself, that will go on all day.  And build.  I'll be folding laundry. "You think you can pass shit around on me and I won't say a word? Well you thought wrong, motherfucker!" and my yoga pants will cringe. "Because I told your shit, didn't I?  And you had the nerve to get all O-Fended, like you have a right," and all my towels just go unch ooch unch ooch under the couch and hide there trembling.  I'll be spitting fire. Walking around!  Telling people!

This is demented.  

I know it.  

My house has two hyoooge picture windows that face the sidewalk, and if I really let myself go, I'll be striding around my house doing chores, stopping to tell off the malefactors in my past with my hands on my hips and my head snaking around, stabbing my finger at them to make a particular point, turning on my heel dramatically and walking out of their imaginary life and some group of kids walking home from school is standing out on the sidewalk just staring at me, like I'm on the worlds largest television screen, and all their braincells are dying,' pft, pft, pft, pft...' because I'm the nice old lady in the neighborhood, and here I am acting like Gods motley fool gesturing and and tripping...

... and I'm The Only One In The Room.

So instead, the very instant that image begins to form in my head in the morning, the instant that I'm fully awake and the last time my daughter said some dumbass thing to me tries to make it self manifest, I cut that thought off short, say 'This goes at the foot of the Throne' and I do one of two things.  I count ten real things in my life that are positive, and I say them out loud.  It can be any ten real things in my life. 1. I have great hair. 2. We still have power. 3. I don't have to run the washing machine today.  And on that way.  It works!  It really does!  It gets me back Here NOW.  In TODAY.  And today isn't bad at all!

The other thing I do is start right in and seek out things that are positive, things to see and experience.  Early morning things.  A nice little breakfast.  Straightening things up.  Looking out at my view of the mountains.  Sitting down with a cup of coffee and watching some stand-up comedy on YouTube.

We have YouTube on our Visio, and you can find stand-up on there from way back in time.  It's a playground!  And you start your day laughing!  This is like being that one person who, when the Titanic was sinking, thought to put on every layer of clothes they had, steal a bottle of high-end bourbon on the fly from the First Class bar, sprint like a motherfucker to the nearest lifeboat and wedge themselves in tight.  FTW! I am going to survive this shit in style!  Row you bastards, row!

I have my favorite comedians past and present. Jonathan Winters, Flip Wilson, Robin Williams, George Carlin, Phyllis Diller, Margaret Cho, Patton Oswalt, John Cleese (BOW DOWN) Dave Chappelle, Ron White, and Christopher Titus come immediately to mind.  

Now that last name needs to come to the fore.  I saw a full length special the other day that had me riveted to the screen.  It was called "Born With A Defect" and it was Christopher Titus.

Remember his T.V. show on Fox?  That show was amazing.  Christopher Titus did not just go crawl off under a rock after it was cancelled.  He went on the road and honed his craft.  And as a connoisseur of comedy, for my money he is the best one out there by a landslide.  A. Landslide.

Now if you're white and you can take some rough stuff, you probably love Ron White.  And Ron White, in his prime, is one of the greats. Comedy is music, and the whole thing underpinning it are the elements of tone, rhythm and timing.  Ron White is all over that shit.  He's the grand master.  He's the well-trained Pavrotti to Robin Williams' rogue prodigy Glen Gould.

Christopher Titus has Ron White beat by a country mile, folks. And, it must be said, Robin Williams too. 

I have never seen someone so absolutely the master of his craft.  He gets older, he gets better.  He gains depth.  He learns to use the stage. He learns to use his whole body.  He learns to bring the audience right up next to his face and them toss them back to deal with what he just said, and make them like it.  You  have just surrendered completely the instant he comes on the stage.  You are going to laugh at things so fucked up and so out of bounds and wrong that you'll wonder what you're all about really when it's all over, but during the performance you will be pounding the armrests and sliding onto the floor in hysterics! No choice!

Dave Chappelle goes there.  Ron White goes there.  Same thing. Same effect.  Same soul searching afterwards. (Did I really just laugh at a story about cumming down Mamie Eisenhowers' trachea?  What kind of animal am I?) 

Christopher Titus goes there and stays there, and it just gets more fucked up and funnier until you have tears running down your face and you're lying on your side on the floor laughing, and you're glad the blinds are down because you are making some sounds.

Now let's hop in the Wayback Machine and visit Milton Berle.  He could get a laugh with a pause and a change of expression.  Beautiful stuff. Phillis Diller could get a laugh by just standing a certain way.  Goldie Hawn would just roll her eyes and shrug, you laughed.  That's talent. You have the full attention of the audience.

Come back with me now, yes, I'm wearing an oven mitt, just take my hand and baaack to TODAY.  

I went to see John Cleese live. That man is as old as dirt.  He was urbane.  He spoke in dulcet tones, with an impeccable command of the art.  He spoke in metaphors and used multisyllabic terms, and strode gently about the stage like an elder statesman, and everyone in the audience was pissing themselves laughing.  He began his show with a fucking Powerpoint presentation.  Come on!  And it was hysterical!  Brass balls?  SOLID BRASS.  My Johnny boy is The Man and he should have been the father of my children, even though, and let's not forget this, John Cleese is entirely filled with self-centered disdain for all of humanity, a vessel made of hate gilded with rage and petulance.  I have no illusions about him, and I'd still suck his ancient dick for a nickle.

So take the erudition and icepick observations of Cleese.  Throw in some Patton Oswalt and all his education for that chip on the shoulder acid. Throw in Dave Chappelle, the whole dude.  Stir. Add the mania of Robin Williams, the ability to let the universe use him as it's jester on the fly, that improvisational madness.  Take Ron White, chop coarsely, as befits, and chunk him in there too. Grate George Carlin, and make sure to use the hardest part of that old cheese.  Pour all that into a greyhound of a man with a bad attitude from a fucked up family, who is up and fighting his demons every morning, in trim, a super-featherweight class boxer up there in the ring, duck and weave, man, with a lightning right and a left like a scimitar, straight up from the soles of his feet. (Forgive the boxing metaphors, but my father was a heavyweight semi-pro in his youth, for real, and I like the sport; sue me.)  

Go sit your ass down and watch "Born With A Defect."

AMEN.

3 comments:

anne marie in philly said...

great names in comedy. george carlin & ernie kovacs too.

Ms Scarlet said...

I am often telling myself to shut up. The other phrase I use to myself is: that isn't true. I think your techniques are better.
I have a book that never fails to make me laugh like a hyena - you are right, comedy is grounding!
Sx

Z said...

I'm not clinically depressed but I'm generally fucking miserable, because life, you know. But we all find our way of dealing with it. I've actually got better over the past year because I've had to focus on being okay. Just look after yourself as you would care for your best friend, sweetheart xxx