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So Humor Me; Define “Funny”

11 Mar

Here’s a tip: don’t sit in front unless you want to be called. It’s applicable in classrooms, in seminars, and even in comedy bars. The front rows serve as the bank from which the persons on stage choose their prey. The front row is for the brave (and for the attention-seekers) – those who are actually game to participate in the show. When, however, the definition of funny relies greatly on another person’s stupidity and eroticism and green jokes, I couldn’t help but think of how embarrassing it would be to get on that stage and have absolutely no comeback to whatever is thrown at me. Suffice to say that I chose to keep a low profile, doing what everyone else in the establishment was doing: laughing whenever there was something funny and drinking beer when there was nothing else to do.

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The Comedians with the Male Specimen 0002.

While most people are capable of blending in, some people just tend to stick out like a sore thumb (but that’s not necessarily bad). Whether they volunteer to come up on stage or are actually called on to come up, these people stand out and become part of the show. Anyone the comedians would notice and talk to becomes part of the show. In this case, the comedians were homosexuals, so it was no wonder that their focus was on the male audience. The comedians called out to whom they thought were handsome, pointing them out to everyone in that brief moment of manly pride (or shame, depending on how one would think of it). I am referring mainly to my male classmates, one of whom was actually called to go up on stage. On the other hand, another member of the audience who went on stage was a lady who had volunteered to sing. On stage, the comedians toyed with the lady, who answered back with much self-confidence. The comedians enjoyed talking to her, especially because they could say right about anything to her – insults included – and she would not take it personally. In the end, she sang her song of choice with much feeling (and a bit of mocking by the comedians in the background). Here’s a round of applause to the members of the audience!

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Ah yes, the hair flip: let the lady flaunt her assets.

Physical appearance and sexuality, however, were not the only things that were considered funny. Included in the definition of humorous was poking fun on another person’s stupidity, ignorance, or lack of education, which, I admit, was my favorite part of the show. Perhaps it is because I felt I had upper hand: I knew exactly what was being referred to, and I was nothing like the person referred to as stupid. Nevertheless, although everything was just in good fun, I did not want to ever be in that person’s position. Such were the reasons behind my constant fear of being called, for wanting to fade away into the darkness. Yes, the comedians were able to tickle my funny bone, to keep me entertained the whole night, but that is because the comedians and I have the same sense of humor, which is probably not a very good thing since I am quite the mean person. My idea of funny goes along the lines of meanness and green jokes; it’s funny to the oppressor but not to the victim. The comedians did bring up the disclaimer that it’s all fun and jokes at the Punchline; so, they warned us, don’t take things seriously, but anyone in the audience could have easily been the victim.

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Astounding! They can sing, too?!

Nonetheless, it is at this point that I commend the comedians for their talent in keeping the audience entertained the whole night. Not only do they find ways to make audience laugh – even at their own expense – but they can also sing! As with each batch of comedians on stage were more side comments (and more male members of the audience considered handsome), deeper into the night, I had gotten used to all the comedians’ jokes and remarks that their song numbers had become refreshing breaks from all the talking. Furthermore, when the musical numbers became more frequent – and a transvestite who can pass off as a woman on stage – the audience began to become more active. Through the waiters, the members of the audience sent song requests and money to the comedians on stage. Let us not forget the snide remarks, which, apparently, never get old at the establishment: the influx of requests became a source of entertainment, as the comedians browsed through them and reacted to the corresponding amounts of money along with them.

Here is a generalization I have made about comedy bars: it is the audience that makes the comedians successful. Whether or not a person willingly puts his or her self under scrutiny of the comedian and of the rest of the audience, it is how the comedians interact with the audience that makes the very essence of the show. The stage in the comedy bar does not really separate the spectators from the performers; the establishment is set in such a way that there is a necessary engagement between the comedians and the audience: all seats face the stage – no exceptions. No one ignores the comedians, and the comedians notice everything out of the ordinary. For this reason, I reiterate: don’t sit in front unless you want to be called.

K. Vera

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