Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 5: How do I compare thee (to make others laugh)?

Today, I laughed at: ... I don't wanna say. ("Glee" I laughed at "Glee," ashamedly, OK?!)
Jim Gaffigan has a bit on McDonald's and how everyone has their own guilty pleasures they don't admit to others they enjoy:
"I’m tired of people acting like they’re better than McDonald’s. It’s like you may have never set foot in McDonald’s, but you have your own McDonald’s. Maybe instead of buying a Big Mac, you read Us Weekly. Hey, that’s still McDonald’s. It’s just served up a little different. Maybe your McDonald’s is telling yourself that Starbucks Frappuccino is not a milkshake. Or maybe you watch 'Glee.' It’s all McDonald’s—McDonald’s of the soul: Momentary pleasure followed by incredible guilt eventually leading to cancer. ‘I’m lovin’ it.’"
I laughed when the kids from the deaf choir said/signed, "Oh god, it's those McKinley nerds."
I laughed at "Glee." I laughed when Sue Sylvester said she legally changed her middle name to "Rodham." 
And I cried out of happiness (pure, unadulterated former chorus geek happiness) when Blaine proposed to Kurt at the end of the episode. And that made the boyfriend laugh at me.

I woke up this morning and instinctively checked my phone. I can't remember what I used to do first thing in the morning, and that's a little sad, I'll admit. But now it's checking my phone, checking my email, waiting for those little red notification buttons to pop up and show what I've missed in the past eight hours.

This morning when I checked it, I got a Facebook notification that a note (remember those?) I wrote two years ago was reposted. It was a collection of quotes from the musical director of a show I was in. As I learned all the Sondheim-ian harmonies of "Sweeney Todd," our musical director would give us notes that made me laugh. I don't know how he came up with them. His Facebook statuses have the same level of humor in the one liner as some of these:

Ballad of Sweeney Todd
10/13-This is a spider web we have only just begun to know, a spider web is actually stronger than steal!
10/13-(About not being mic’d) It’s like putting your face in a plastic bag and singing!
10/03-(“Sweeney was smooth, Sweeney was subtle”) Subtle. Think Martha Stewart-subtle!
09/27-This is a scary ride, folks! And, at the end, we’re saying “Wasn’t that scary?!”
09/27-You guys need to be sharp. Like a knife dipped in alcohol!
09/27-(Before all the “Sweeney”s) Get a breath before the ugly.
10/13-It’s like a sneeze. It’s inside of you. You’re not on a boat, drinking lemonade!
10/03-Don’t. Growl.

Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir
09/23-This is a freak show on wheels, coming to town!
09/23-Angry, angry mob! You’re like Joan Rivers selling jewelry on QVC!
10/13-You guys sound like Cher. “Oo-whadda-bowd-are-moh-neeey!”
10/13-It’s like you bought the PedEgg, and it’s not working on your feet!

Ballad of Sweeney Todd (10B)
This is the ballad where you’re singing "Sweeney" until it comes out your bowels!

God That’s Good
10/03-It’s like a pie-eating contest through song!
09/19-(“That’s pies good”) Sondheim IS a second language!
10/07-(Yums) Accentuate the Ys. Yeee-UM! I want to hear muppets! I WANT MUPPETS!!!
10/07-Sondheim’s kind of fun...once you know what you’re doing!
10/07-And this is the only time I’m ever going to have lobster in my life! You are NEVER going to have lobster again! You! Will! Savor! It!

Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Finale)
10/13-This has got an edge. As if you’re saying “I told you so!”
09/16-(First rehearsal) Those aren't just dots on a page, they are an experience!
That was our musical director, David Maiocco (I decided to use his full name since he is wonderful to work with and I know he'll go on to great things). From the first rehearsal, I knew he was funny and quotable. I began making notes of his funny one liners in my music score because I knew at the end of the show I would compile the list to be read at the cast party.

A lot of the humor came in the comparisons. Even though comparisons in humor almost always makes fun of somebody or something, they prove to be some of the most efficient forms of humor, a laugh from one line, usually. Formula: "[This thing/event] is like [this completely random thing or event]." Bam, instant funny.

I remember in second grade or sixth grade* (there's a long, drawn out reason I don't remember which one, but every time I typed it, my parenthetical statement turned into a paragraph, so just go with not knowing. Maybe I'll use an asterisk instead.), I learned about similes, which are obvious comparisons, frequently using "like" or "as." They should have used Joan Rivers quotes as examples, instead of lines from Robert Frost poems or the required books I ended up hating. Joan Rivers similes are much, much better and memorable.

“This dress is like Kirk Douglas’ speech, I didn't understand any of it. And it was too long.” 
"I hate her squeaky voice. It always sounds like she just performed oral sex on a tank of helium."

"I hate the illusion on the arms. It gets crunchy and it looks like a wrinkled scrotum."

"She looks like the love child of Anna Wintour and an eel."

 Another comparison humorist I enjoy is Michael Kors. I didn't even know who he was until I became addicted to "Project Runway," I'll be honest. But I looked forward to when a designer would make an absolute mess and he would compare it to something completely random that would have me in hysterics.

Humor that compares, giving the listener a mental image of something completely different than what's originally presented, is probably on my top five list of what will make me laugh. Simple one liners, but with a level of intelligence and creativity behind them.

Now, here's where the mom hat comes in. I will try not to teach L. comparison humor for the sake of being mean. Hopefully, I can teach it in a way that my musical director David used it to motivate us. Unless she's paid to judge people for entertainment (and these are people who have put themselves out there for judgment), I will try to steer her away from using comparison humor. And, if she has the sense of humor I do, she come up with some good ones.

One of the upsides of comparison humor is you have to be well-rounded to be able to even make the connections. (OK, "pooping fabric" is a little obvious.") You can't say, "It looks like ... " without knowing something else similar in a way even exists. So, if comparison humor is a goal, I guess a good way to start is to learn as much as you can, or at least as much mainstream as you can. I'll be honest, I had to Google who Anna Wintour is with the Joan Rivers quote above. Once I realized who it was (I had known the name, I just couldn't remember from where, for the record), the quote made much more sense to me.

*I went to a small private school and after fifth grade, the school restructured and moved what was considered "middle school" to the downstairs classrooms where, previously, the second, third and fourth grades were. So, my English class was held in the same classroom as my second grade class. When I look back, I remember learning about similes and metaphors in that classroom, but I can never be sure which teacher I learned it from, either Miss Lippert in sixth grade or Mrs. Swanson in second grade.