(How we got to where we are)
This article is dedicated to much beloved bald guy: Tom Sobel! Get well soon buddy!
Actually we, the modern day equivalent of caveman, cavewomen, and cave kiddies, are all just looking to lean towards a friendly fire. Except that my peeps...my kinda folks...the people that I want to talk to...are all huddled around some laughs!
In a tainted world, what could be a greater equalizer than mocking the very thing that threatens us? Mankind is hard-wired to relieve its stress by laughing in the face of danger! Maybe laughing a lot is the fountain of youth! Maybe.
I envision it all started long ago in a half darkened cave, on a wild and breezy night. Heralding the future of man, Errrg the caveman had had a rough, rough day-day! Maybe Errrg lived in the hinterlands of Australia, perhaps near Sidney, or in some crazy peat bog in Estonia, perhaps near Tallinn. I don't know, and I don't care. What I see in my minds eye is...mostly, my man Errrg had a horrible day. After a meager dinner, and also fed up to here with Mrs. Errrg, Errrg Junior, and Gram-ma Gas, he wandered over to the communal fire to commiserate a little. You know, the Cro-Magnon version of water cooler talk: "Hey, how about those T-Rexes?? Wow, it's a damn torpid out there!" One might have heard such talk.
So, Errrg sidles up to the comforting flames, palms out, in a tribal gesture still seen today in New York City. His next cave neighbor, Drooog, cuts a huge one, and hoots loudly. Catcalls come from all angles. Errrg comments dryly: "Windy tonight, huh?" Drooog shoots Errrg a look worthy of a modern day Frenchman receiving a very small tip. Curious, Drooog asks of all those fireside: "Has the mighty Errrg had a hard day?" Errrg waits for the crowd to quiet, then he says: " Don't laugh, one day I'll have my own series of insurance commercials, and my own TV show on ABC!"
Drooog looks puzzled, so Errrg adds: "Drooog, you're the only one in the tribe that can drool, sneeze, and break wind at the same time...but you're useless on the hunt! I'm surprised the women let you come stand out here with us men! Do I come down to the poop pits, and screw up your job?" Shouts, insults, and much munched-on bones rain down on poor Drooog as he slinks away from Errrg and all at the fire. And so, standup comedy, as we know it, had begun.
Later, in the Middle Ages, comedic banter contributed to The Holy Land being exchanged through conquest several times. As apparently discovered then, and forevermore recorded in the secret journals and rituals of funnymen since: "Some people can't take a joke!" This includes evangelists, popes, dictators, Customs officials, online magazine editors, motorcycle cops, taxi drivers, airport gate agents, some waitresses, some lesbians, and Dick Cheney.
Let history confirm: Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha were all quite funny.
Later, during the renaissance, provoking laughter was a highly sought after skill, second only to Inquisition assistants. The Mediciís and the Sir Williams of Morris were some of the most revered and remembered patrons. Off duty jesters were given menial tasks to keep them out of trouble during daytime hours. Cleaning castle walls led to our modern phrase " These guys are just "sponging" off the Duke! "
There was nothing funny in the 1700's, and mostly, people everywhere suffered greatly.
In the 18 and early 1900's, making folks laugh was considered a sign of up to no goodness. Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd changed that. Then Fatty Arbuckle came along and changed our reputation back to up to no good...again. Thanks.
Then Earth was blessed, and burlesque, vaudeville, radio, and TV realized they could sell laughs like they were hot bagels, and it was off to the races!
After the great comedy rush of the 80's, standup comics gained exposure and stature...and a decent paycheck. In the 90's, anybody who disrupted a high school class, or held sway at a beer bust thought they could be a standup too. The art form and business wobbled, but it has survived. I think the fact that that fake TV show Last Comic Standing! failed so miserably is a good sign. There may be some magic left yet.
American General MacArthur said: "There is no substitute for victory!" Today, there is no substitute for getting good laughs, than visiting your local comedy club! An evening at a decent live comedy show can do amazing things for you. The actual act of laughing for any extended period of time heals and cleanses the human system like no other act but love-making. So, if you can't make love tonight, or any particular night...how about some laughs? Bring her!
Come join us! It's not hard to find a good show almost anywhere these days. If you want to test the holistic and beneficial results, drive past your local comedy club as the audience leaves a show. These exiting folks are happy, and ready to deal with whatever tomorrow brings! Judge for yourself, do you want a piece of this? Come on in, and have a giggle or two. You'll recognize the rest of us, we're having fun down at The Comedy Cave...we're huddled around some laughs!
The Comic in Red Shoes