I like to write funny stories. I also like to think I’m not too bad at it. When it comes down to it, I like to think I’m a pretty funny person.
But how do I know? How can I tell that I have even an ounce of humour in my bones? How do I have any idea that I’m not actually deluding myself and I’m about as funny as…as funny as…a thing that’s really not funny at all?
Well, I like to think there’s a basic litmus test for figuring out whether you’re funny or not. It’s all about the response. The response you get when you write something that’s intended to be funny. And the response you get when you say something that’s intended to be funny.
What is that response? It’s pretty simple really. You hope that the thing you’ve written or said gets a laugh. If people laugh, you have a pretty good indication that you’ve hit the nail on the head. You have definitive evidence that you are, without a shadow of a doubt, funny.
And that’s a really nice feeling, I can tell you. There’s nothing better than being able to generate a good old belly laugh. It’s tremendously validating in a deeply personal way. I truly am funny. I made people laugh.
Except, sometimes it’s not about the laugh. Sometimes, there’s a completely different reaction you’re aiming for.
Sometimes, you’ve deliberately tried to create the worst joke you could possible imagine. You know that nobody is going to laugh at the joke – and that’s ok. But you’re still looking for a reaction. You’re looking for a rolling of the eyes. You’re looking for a shaking of the head. And, most importantly, you’re looking for a great big groan.
I love bad jokes. I love the most obvious punchlines, and the lowest of puns. Partly just in themselves. But also because I love the moans and groans they elicit. Truly, a groan can be just as good as a laugh. I reckon I get the same intense, personally validated feeling from a groan as I do from the deepest of belly laughs. Dare I say it, sometimes the groan is even more satisfying.
I like being a funny person. I like the idea that I can spread joy to the people around me. So I’ll always be looking to get the reaction. I’m happy to get that laugh. And sometimes I’m even happier to get that groan.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as