Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Robin Williams and Church

We seem to keep bringing up a similar point in our class, laughter is the best medicine. It is prevalent to our discussion and because it is such a cliché it is an easy point to draw upon. Recently I was asked by a friend to look over a political science paper about the Kennedy family, I watch ed the funeral on Youtube to get a better idea of what she was talking about. I made a comment to her saying, “ The sons really made people laugh during the eulogies.” Obviously most people do not think of the funeral of your only father that has died from brain cancer hysterical. But the two of them kept the audience in stitches a lot of the time, while they spoke of their dad’s memory.
It makes sense in terms of what Douglas is saying, that jokes can come out of the blue, but not always. I agree with his point about jokes going in patterns. Usually they do start out with a, “ Have you ever heard of…”. I liked how Douglas brings in another humorist we have talked about (Freud) to further illustrate the point.
His idea of breaking down the joke of every century’s people also helps bring the point across that jokes need to be socially acceptable for thee society. It also must have good timing, like Twain and Allen argue. We would deem it socially inappropriate to joke about a religious figure (bishop, priest, rabbi, monk) because we have been socially preconditioned not to do that. The same with laughing in church. There is a time and a place for humor, and when he put in the bishop example I was shocked, because it’s not your everyday example. My mom told me recently that church was a place where no one spoke except to say “Peace be with you”. My mom was born in the 60’s and it just proves the point that a lot has laxed in the past twenty years.
Douglas sticks with the church theme, and discusses at the end the rite to joke as a communion. He goes on to explain that in order to have a good joke, no matter what its about, than everything must be out in the open no matter what it is. This is true a lot of the time in movies, and TV. Not just watching Leno, but by seeing any movie made in the 1990’s; everything is out in the open (Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber). All avenues are explored, and I recently watched “Mrs. Doubtfire”. If you are thinking about that movie, it do es play with sexual ideas since Robin Williams brother is a gay makeup artist. I never would have seen that if not having read Douglas.

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