Comedic timing is a blessing and a curse. It is the proverbial two edged sword. And it is far more powerful a tool than people imagine it to be. Firstly, it is seemingly harmless. “Yeah, that guy’s funny, whatever.” Then it becomes more sinister, “Ok, so maybe laughing at that isn’t very nice…” Then, “Wow, that guy is a big jerk.”
The problem is that comedy is a tool of thought. It alters ideas. It highlights aspects of our daily lives. It glosses over pivotal points. It occasionally generalizes to achieve its ends. It can make people happy. It can make people sad. It can make people angry. Basically, it messes with your brain.
So, here’s the trouble. I've noticed that my thoughts are often considered funny. Ok, that was a modest way of putting it. I've noticed that people laugh at some of the things that I say, and I take way too much pride in my ability to make those people laugh. Sometimes this is wonderful. I have a skill that has the power to bring a little sunlight into other people’s lives. Sometimes it’s a bad thing. Like, when I unconsciously hurt another person. Or worse, when I consciously hurt another person.
Most of all, my particular brand of comedy functions in one unmistakable way. It is my mask. A very unsubtle mask, really, because I usually say exactly what I think, except that I say it in a funny voice, or I say it by quoting a movie, or I dip what I’m saying in a heavy dose of sarcasm. What I really think becomes obscured by the laughter it evokes. Suddenly, truth becomes a joke. Kind of a sinister way of looking at it, right?
Why am I writing about this? Well, I think it’s about time the mask came off. I could be using my skills for more productive things, like helping people, instead of expending all of my comedic resource on hiding who I actually am.
There are a few obstacles.
Firstly, I’m just barely starting to recognize when I do this. Becoming more self-aware isn’t exactly easy, and most of the time it’s incredibly unpleasant. I try to avoid it as much as I possibly can, so overcoming this obstacle is difficult.
Nextly, I really like saying funny things, like seriously you guys, it’s awesome. I’m a human, and usually when humans are good at things they like to do them because they enjoy the attention that said things can get them. In other words, “I’m so vain, did you know that this song is about me?” (that bit was meant to be sung to the tune of “You’re so Vain,” in case any of you were in doubt).
Lastly, changing is hard. I’m probably gonna have to work and think and apologize and rebalance and I don’t wanna. Wah.
Sixthly, I’m impatient. I just want to be perfect and I want it to happen right now. Woof. Dealing with myself is a lot like dealing with an obstinate two year old sometimes.
So, yeah, these are my self-improvement thoughts of the moment. As Shang said, “We've got a long way to go.”
P.S. If anyone can tell me where I got the whole “firstly, nextly, lastly, sixthly” thing I will give them a coupon for a lifetime supply of free high fives.