This one’s tough.
“Who are the three funniest people in the world? Who are the three funniest people you know personally?”
Essentially I need to come up with six names here. It is at this point that I might just invoke Rule #1 Subsection A of the PostADay2011 Challenge: “If you don’t like it, don’t use it.” I’m skipping the first part since there are alternately lots of funny people in the world and very few. I will say that there’s a comedienne I am fond of. Her name is Jeanne Robertson. I discovered her on XM’s Laugh USA comedy channel. She is very, very funny.
Now then, let’s talk about the funniest people I know. I have to preface this by saying that people are funny in many different ways. Some are funny because they can tell a good joke. They have great delivery, timing, and inflection. Others are funny because their lives posses a certain comical sense. That being said… First on my list would have to be my Mom. Mom has always had a unique way of just being funny. She is not known for her jokes. That’s Dad’s department (and he can tell some pretty funny jokes). No, she just knows how to say things that come out of her mouth with a natural sense of humor. It is very hard to describe. Anyone who knows the woman knows what I’m talking about. In fact, I like to think that I inherited much of my sense of humor from her. She gets the absurdity in a lot of situations. If there is a situation which lacks absurdity, she’ll find it. Case in point: one Sunday night many years ago we were watching a movie of the week (remember those from my last post?). This one was a made-for-TV docudrama about the life of Leona Helmsley. The “Queen of Mean” was portrayed by Suzanne Pleshette. During a commercial break Mom quietly slipped out of the room. When she returned, without saying a word, she entered the room and took her seat. Several minutes went by before my sisters and I noticed that she had taken bright red lipstick and smeared it all around her lips, a la Leona. We all cracked up. She’s good. Next we have my sister, Barbara. Barbara is one of those people who “tells it like it is”. She has a killer way of just saying what needs to be said. Again, hard to describe but I’ll try. One night we were watching the late newscast when a story came up about Pete Townshend of the band The Who. Townshend, it turns out, had been investigated by British police for accessing child pornography. His defense? It wasn’t “I didn’t do it.” No, he admitted his crime but said it was for “research” for a book he was writing. The man cannot string together a sentence properly so I doubt that book research was really his thing. Barbara, so infuriated at this man’s obvious guilt and lack of a proper defense blurted out: “What is wrong with these aging rock freaks?! Child porn?! Don’t they have enough with their drugs and their music and their… their… beat on bitch?” “Beat on bitch?” Exactly. I was laughing for days. By the way, a close tie for this slot goes to Barbara’s husband, Ron, who just makes me laugh at anything he says. Finally, I will mention my sister, Bridget, who more than anyone has mastered the subtlety of my type of humor. She is the one who would accompany to many Broadway shows when we both had money and the opportunity to see shows. One night during a performance (I think it was the Diary of Anne Frank the Musical) I decided to play a variation of an old game I learned in college. The game, as originally played, involves one person whispering a dirty word and the other person saying that word louder. There is a back and forth at increasing levels of volume until finally one person has shouted the word. Well, dirty words can be boring. Anyone can shout “penis!” in a crowded theater. Bridget and I took this to a new level. We decided (without discussing this aforehand, mind you) to increase the volume on a conversation about a non-existent drug problem. Me, whispering: “Bridget, I think you have a problem.” Bridget, whispering louder: “No, no I really don’t.” Me: Seriously, I want you to let this intervention work for you. Bridget: “Why, you’re the asshole who introduced me to my lover, Lady Heroin.” Actress on stage singing: “The Nazis, The Nazis, they’re coming for ME!” Me: “Listen, ho-bag, you’ve got to get clean. Do it for me. Hell, do it for you!” Bridget: “Up yours, pal. I don’t even have a problem. I can quit whenever I want.” This went on for a few minutes until… “Bridget, YOU’VE GOT TO STOP DOING COCAINE NOW!!!” Curtain. Intermission. Scene.
Online? Well, if you’re looking for a good laugh, my friend Gary writes an internal blog for IBM. He stole the idea from me and even calls himself “IT Harvey”. Follow him @garyrhix. Maybe he’ll even start tweeting again.