My dad gets all the credit.
He is a seriously wonderful father who is also prone to silliness and has been since I was born. There was a lot of laughter in my family growing up, a lot of clowning and jokes and silliness. My dad was the one who had us watching the Marx Brothers, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, Flip Wilson, SNL and many other truly ridiculous human beings. Just silly people who made me laugh until my stomach hurt. It cultivated a special place in my heart for comedy and comedians in general.
My dad used to pick me up, dance me around the living room and ask me in a snobby British accent, “Are you having a lovely time dahling?” And I would look at him and say “No.” We both fell apart laughing. I was aware of the irony of this routine and I enjoyed playing his straight man.
Sometimes there’s just nothing like laughter to diffuse darkness, to bring people together, to clear the air, to begin healing or just to take a break from the impending doom that hangs over each day in this diabolical administration.
My husband and I have been watching “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” on Netflix, a concept show created by Jerry Seinfeld which I originally thought was kind of an obnoxious vanity project. But the the thing is, when you’re as funny as Seinfeld, you could literally pick up comedians in a cheese bus and it would still be hilarious as long there was a camera around.
It’s exactly what it is. Comedians are an odd bunch of people who really only like hanging out with other comedians and this is that. Candid, coffee, cars, comics.
I like to laugh. I need to laugh. I like to share laughter and I have always loved making others laugh which for a woman has always been a harder road as a profession. Tracee Ellis Ross has been one of my favorite silly people for the longest because she doesn’t let vanity and patriarchy stand in the way of getting a laugh. She is legit crazy and she utilizes that crazy in the most disarming ways. She also slays as a fashion icon. Those qualities in a woman, let alone a Black woman are very rarely celebrated together as strengths. To me they are personal goals.
For me silliness is fuel. If I can’t make fun of myself and situations that are often taken way too seriously, I often feel like I’m perpetrating the fraud of looking like I have a clue about what’s going on or that I am actually as cool as I occasionally appear to be, that I am not full of chaos, rage, doubt, sadness, loneliness and questions.
We are all performing in some type of drag most of the time, performing gender, beauty, respectability. When humor is used to crack facades and address the need for them at the same time, it’s a win win. Comedians provide a public service. They live to make us laugh and I live to laugh.
I need to laugh. Its part of my self care routine now more than ever.