It’s a running joke. No, I’m not talking about the potential candidates running for president constantly flaunting of their assholiness, what I mean is laughter being the best medicine. Although I must admit some of the ranting of those running for president are far more ridiculous than any slapstick routines I’ve seen. The bottom-line is more than just a venue in Greenwich Village with popular acts, the bottom line is that the most creative, concise, profound, and just plain sensible information about life, love, and politics have come by way of brilliant comedians.
It started with Lenny Bruce, although admittedly I’m too young to have seen his act live I certainly have learned much about censorship and abuse of power from Lenny. But the first comedian who really made sense as well as developing my sense of humor was a big fan and learned much of his craft from Mr. Bruce. George Carlin. From the Hippy Dippy weatherman to the brightest funnyman who ever shed light on social and political issues in a way in which we could all understand. George Carlin not only made me laugh, yes out loud long before lol was a thing, but he also helped put so much more into perspective in a way which I personally could relate to. George helped me to understand my nagging sense of spiritual emptiness as well as my frustration with authority figures, ie Washington DC. Through his brilliant use of comedic perspective George Carlin shed an enlightening perspective and helped me to sort out my life issues with a hint of sarcasm and a ton of laughter. Thank you for the medicine George, much of what you said still rings true in so many hearts.
When George passed away a deep chasm of a void needed filling. His humor was so sustainable because unlike many jokers who tell the same jokes in different ways (sort of like reporters asking a set of questions that sound eerily similar to the first one they asked) his humor had evolved. But the void remained, thankfully to be filled in from an alien from outer space, Mork from Ork. Robin Williams was the next comedian to enter my little world with a handful of laughter medicine. Different from George but equally as talented and funny. Robin taught me that living my life in an improv format was okay as long as I kept my perspectives. The main difference for me was that Robin was equally adept at playing dramatic roles, but none the less his humor not only comforted me but it also helped to validate the social and political issues I had developed from following Mr. Carlin. The recent tragedy of losing Robin hit hard on a number of levels not the least of which was his ability to rise above his inner demons for as long as he did through the use of laughter.
With Robin gone another huge void had been created. The next laugh man I latched onto for medicinal joking was Jon Stewart. Jon had transcended social issues to a completely new level, delving ever deeper into politics and the disgusting hypocrisy and corruption while brining it to light in a serious way via his brilliant comedic outlook on life. As a note of accomplisment Jon Stewart was incredibly significant in the passing of the 911 first responders bill to make sure they have medical coverage. It absolutely astounds me that a single person on Capitol Hill needed to be shamed into voting for the heroes that answered the call on the darkest days our country has see3n in modern history but then again, congress are humorless jokes. Jon went up and down the corridors of the building with some responders having to shame them into agreeing to even put the bill to a vote which only strengthens my position that comedians should have more influence on social and political issues. I compare Jon to Johnny Carson on two levels. One I remember my father, despite leaving early for work in the morning never missing The Tonight Show and laughing so loud it often woke me up. I would later learn that Johnny Carson was dishing out the daily social news stories with his own brand of humor. But more than that, Jon Stewart like John Carson before him kick started the careers of many a comedian, the most notable in Jon’s case Steven Cobare, or more pretentiously, Cobert pronounced Cobare. Using incredible wit combined with profound wisdom, both of these jokers are able to place today’s issues in an understandable if not always humorous way.
There have been other laugh makers that helped shape the social and political landscapes, Monty Python, Prime Time Players, Second City among others. All have helped us to not only make sense of a complicated world, but to be able to laugh at the same time. It’s ridiculously hard to remain sad or angry while we’re laughing. That’s why I stand by the statement laughter is the best medicine. I will however admit, that some substances make the laughter even funnier, but these are humor additives not humor itself even if they sometimes make us laugh without understanding why we are laughing.
In conclusion, in a recent election in Brazil an actual clown, not clown in the sense of those running for president in the US, Tiririca, was elected to Brazilian Congress. Notably he too is a Republican but perhaps its not the same in Brazil as it is here. In summation, maybe it’s time we form an independent political party and load it up with doctors of comedy who can administer the medicine we all need these day, laughter….