I do not know about the rest of you, but I am basically obsessed with the comedian Dane Cook. I find that his sense of humor and his stand-up comedy leaves me in stitches nearly every time I listen to him (In fact, to get in the mood of writing this blog, I am listening to a few of his skits from A Vicious Circle!). While reading the assigned excerpts, I couldn't help but think DANE COOK, especially while reading Douglass' text. Allow me to explain my history with Dane Cook in order to prove my point that Douglass' argument matches up nicely with Dane's sense of humor.
When I was a junior in high school I had a track meet down in South Jersey. Track meets, for those of you who have never attended one, are extremely arduous and grueling. They basically go from 9 am until 7 pm and leave you pretty exhausted at the end of the day. This particular meet was very rough and extremely disappointing as my friend Nicole and I did not have particularly great races. So, we were feeling pretty down getting into our car with my mom who was driving us home, and to make it worse, we had to take the SAT's the next day! So we get in the car, stop at Dairy Queen on the way home and start driving up the Garden State Parkway back to North Jersey. We had been fishing through our iPods trying to find the best music to listen to, when we come across who other than DANE COOK. Immediately, we both say, "OMG! we need a pick me up right now... let's listen to Dane Cook!" We turn it on, and needless to say Dane did not let us down. My mom had never listened to him before, and I had been explaining to her who he was and how hilarious his skits are. I explained to her that I found he was so funny because he took real life situations and pointed out the things the average citizen does in these situations that we can all relate to. For example, my favorite is his skit entitled "Car Accident" (the link is attached for your viewing pleasure!) In this skit, Dane talks all about how we all love car accidents and when we hear one when we are in our house we always go outside to see what happened, and tend to do things like stand outside for 2 extra hours, act like we're cold even if its the middle of the summer, and try and get in on the investigation process, etc etc. The entire skit hit the nail right on the head about how we react to certain situations such as hearing a car crash outside of your house. The reality of our ridiculous reactions makes it so funny. So, our whole ride home was made a lot more pleasant due to these hilarious Dane Cook skits we listened too.
So how does this relate to our readings? Well, I specifically think that Dane Cook's skits relate to Douglass' reading entitled "The Joke". This text obviously focuses on Jokes and what they are exactly and what makes them funny. Douglass writes, "My argument will be that the joke form rarely lies in the utterance alone, but that it can be identified in the total social situation" (148). I do not think this quotation could be any more perfect to support my argument about Dane Cook's work being funny. It is not the words that he says that are so humorous, but its relationship with the situation being talked about. By Dane relating the car accident to the silly, quirky things we do as a result, he is being humorous. I guarantee we all have been in situations where there has been a car accident or some sort of controversy outside of our house where we spring up from whatever we are doing and scream, "WHAT WAS THAT!?!" You probably immediately ran outside or at least looked out the window to see what was going on. And if you didn't, then I tip my hat to your amazing self-control! I remember once there was an accident at the end of my block, and within about 3 minutes at least ten neighbors were outside looking to see what happened, so for me, Dane's skit is humorous because I actually did pretty much all of the things he mentioned in his skit. But I found it funny because I was able to identify what he was saying based on a social situation I was in prior to hearing the joke.
Douglass also describes the joker as "one of those people who pass beyond the bounds of reason and society and give glimpses of truth which escapes through the mesh of structured concepts". Dane, as the comedian, is essentially doing just that. He is bringing out the truth in real life situations, some even as serious as a car accident. Car accidents are extremely serious, but beyond their structure, there are truths about the results of a car accident that are prevelent in society. In bringing those out, we find humor.
I also noticed that in Douglass' article he references Freud and the "release of energy" that a joke gives us. I completely agree with that, because in this particular case my friend Nicole and I had a lot of tense energy in our bodies from our poor races and also from the nervousness of taking the biggest test of our lives so far the next day. Listening to Dane's joke helped us escape from that negative energy and anxiousness we were feeling and allowed us to let loose and get some good laughing in!