No, Really, It’s Funny!

A service announcement:

It has recently been suggested to me that I have no sense of humor. This is, in fact, entirely false. I find a great many things funny, and I hope that I sometimes am funny myself. The reason some people think I’m humorless is simply that my humor is very dry.

Take “The Great Divorce”, possibly my favorite book. TGD is brilliant, and very frightening, and very, very funny. Like the opening, when he talks to the communist on the bus, who only becomes a communist when he loses his job and mooches off his parents. That’s hilarious!

Or the lady who dissolves into a sour smell because she refuses to let go of a petty slight and won’t…stop…talking. Like a woman, natch. Also hilarious! Or the guy attempting to drag an apple from the bright land with him back into Hell! Funny stuff!

I told a friend how funny it was. He read it, liked it…and then said. “But where is the humor?”

I pointed him to the communist scene. He didn’t get it.

You either see that or you don’t.

Lewis’s funniest scene, of course, is the climax of “Out of the Silent Planet” where Ransom “translates” Winston’s high-minded rhetoric and exposes it for the near-nonsensical babble it is. That whole scene is hysterical! But any time I get someone to read it, they give me a blank look and say “What’s funny about it?”

And, you know…he’s making fun of him! It’s funny!

And, of course, there’s Chesterton. “The Man Who Was Thursday” is one of the funniest books ever written. If you don’t get why a Council of Anarchists is funny, I submit that you live in a duller world than I. Or if you don’t find the scene of Gabriel convincing the anarchists to elect him Thursday funny. It’s hysterical! I was cracking up the entire time. But there are people who don’t see it, and I think that’s sad.

More examples. Flannery O’Connor. If you read O’Connor, you either find her hilarious or you just don’t like her writing. I find her hilarious. “Good Country People” is as far as I’m concerned a humor story. But some people just…don’t…get it.

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” is yet another example. Look, if you don’t understand why Patrick Warburton saying in a total deadpan that he weeps uncontrollably at night whenever he thinks about Count Olaf is funny, then maybe you and I have different senses of humor. You either think that’s hilarious or you don’t. I think that’s hilarious.

Or why this scene is funny:

I mean, come on. The hook-handed man is playing the piano! It’s hilarious!

I dunno. Some people just don’t get it. Oh well, I guess.

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13 Responses to No, Really, It’s Funny!

  1. John says:

    Well, different people have different senses of humor.

    Or you’re German.

  2. MishaBurnett says:

    I’m with you on Lewis and Chesterton. Ransom’s translation of Weston’s manifest destiny speech ranks up there with the best of Monty Python. I laugh out loud not just at “The Man Who Was Thursday” but also “The Club Of Queer Trades.” (The kidnapped vicar bit? That’s a classic.)

    But then, I also find William Burroughs funny.

    • I have a feeling you’d probably enjoy “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. It’s basically Douglas Adams for kids. Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler is fiendishly clever.

      But yeah. The Man Who Was Thursday is clearly one of the funniest books ever written.

      • MishaBurnett says:

        I tried, “Unfortunate Events” because my eldest really loved it, but it didn’t really grab me. I felt that the author was trying too hard.

      • I guess I can see that. It is marketed to younger children so that can be justified to some extent.

        I feel like that’s a series you either get or you don’t.

  3. Patrick Warburton is a national treasure and always hilarious.

    Love the first live action Tick.

    • That was a fun show. The episode where The Immortal dies is a gem.

      He absolutely blew me away as Lemony Snicket in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. The role is a super difficult one with a lot of dialogue and much of the humor dependent on proper delivery, and he absolutely nails it. He’s like 90% of why that show works as well as it does.

      Snicket does get some juicy bits though. “A word which here means…”

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