I consider myself a fortunate person, because I am a very easy laugher. Often people deeply weathered by the comedy scene can become cynical and withholding of their laughter. ‘I’ve seen and heard all the really funny things’, they think, ‘I’m saving the remaining laughs left in my body for something truly rare.’ This is wrong of course, and these people should be stopped.
If anything, though, I am too generous with my laughter, frequently chuckling at things that are imperceptible, even to me. It gets me in trouble, especially with dates. Date: ‘What are you laughing at?’ Me: ‘I don’t know.’ This is rarely a good enough excuse for Date, but it is the truth.
My cat makes me laugh because he is so dumb and I am so smart. I think most animals are funny for this reason. We laugh at them because we incorrectly apply human characteristics to them, and are then surprised when they act differently to humans. ‘Stupid cat – doesn’t understand that toy isn’t a real mouse! I am so much better than you, because I understand.’ Then the cat looks up at you with incomprehension, the only thing in its mind is: ‘I am a cat’ and this makes it even funnier, on a cosmic level. But then at night I cry, and my cat has 14 tear-free slumbers every day, so who’s really winning?
But enough about my dumb cat. The list of other things that make me laugh is endless. I laugh at socks, I laugh at clocks, I laugh at the boy with chicken pox. In fact, that last sentence is not true, and those three things are the only 3 things in the world I take very seriously.
On the other hand, anyone falling over anywhere onto/over anything is endlessly, rivetingly funny. Just ask the internet. Perhaps this is similar to why animals are funny. People who fall over must be dumb because they have failed to do such a basic human thing: stay upright. People have been staying upright for hundreds of years, there’s really no excuse.
I think I’m getting closer to understanding what makes my funny bone shake: Dumb Stuff. I’ve seen a lot of really brilliant Clever Comedy over the years, but it often makes me stop at Smiling Broadly, as I ponder how dazzlingly clever the comedy was. But Dumb Stuff doesn’t need you to think, so the laughter channels are open and wide and fast. It hits you right in the gut, like a cat falling over without a sock or clock in sight.
See Graham Dickson: Timber at the Underbelly throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 2nd – 26th August. For tickets visit www.edfringe.com
Tagged in Comedy