Little Comic Relief
For A Very Serious World...
Thank you Jim Gaffigan. Thank you for the belly jiggling snort inducing hold your sides until you hurt laughter. I needed that. We all need that. An intravenous fast and furious log in transfusion of our sense of humor. A reminder that a smile requires less muscles for those of us who avoid the stair master and can barely find the energy to turn the page, to hush up, or to remember that life has two sides.
Positive and negative.
If you have not met Jim Gaffigan, let me introduce you. We met on Comedy Central during a trial run on Sirius Radio in my car on the road to endless errands on a boring afternoon, when I lost my way in the new super screen full of instructions and supposedly easy one touch unexplored new vistas accompanied by a woman named Siri. Siri and I have never met, but her voice creeps me out and I prefer to choose my own forms of entertainment, so I punched in and there he was...in the middle of a monologue on dessert and we instantly bonded. Right there, in the car, my private space, my sole place to be myself. To pick my nose or eat handfuls of M&M’s and no one the wiser. Instead, there I sat, with my driver’s side heater warming my buns, a slight blip in screen choices, but oh so perfect as Jim’s voice entered my head and did me good...sooo good.
I laughed out loud.
He saved me. Jim Gaffigan saved me. From the man in the tan SUV who veered back and forth across the double line, who I approached gently in my lane, only to see him texting with one hand and smoking a cigarette in the other. Neither hand on the wheel. The driver behind him honked, and this ambidextrous fool managed to give him the only non-engaged finger he managed to free up while fluidly texting and flipping ashes out the window.
Enough. I muttered to myself. Enough. Bad news. On each and every station on the radio...on the TV...on the Internet...over and over and over and enough and enough and enough. And now this mad man weaving in and out of my life, a dangerous real life risk in a world filled with real life really close by oh my oh my oh my risky day after day after day disaster.
And then there was Jim.
I forgot. How to smile. How to laugh. Not at others but at the simplest laughable highly comical indisputable snorting milk out of each nostril nonsense. The funniness of every day, day to day, moment by moment side splitting silliness. The human condition. The hysterical human condition that marks us all as the punch line to a joke. This is lunchroom comedy. Remember how you laughed with your friends in the cafeteria over absolutely nothing or in the middle of a chemistry class, when you couldn’t straighten up, let alone answer intelligently on any subject because you could barely catch your breath?
This. This is Jim Gaffigan.
At least for me. Maybe not for you.
I won’t link to his You Tube videos out of respect for his hard earned efforts. But you should.
Or buy his book....My Dad Is Fat
Or his latest prose...Food:A Love Story
Because we all need a laugh and we need a laugh that is not at someone else’s expense.
Clean. Family. Funny. Oh so funny ha ha ha ha ha tee hee hees.
Or maybe you have your own giggle box.
Your favorite jokester, comedianne,
Perhaps a child. a niece, a nephew, a neighbor, a student, grandchild... perhaps you are just sitting one day at a table eating some kale fries or something, poor you, vastly more healthy but ick, and the timbre of the air is fractured by the ting ting a ling...the laughter of a child nearby, an uninhibited rollicking rock and rolling gigglefest...and without thought or reason you smile along in a silly simulation...and your world is for once at peace.
Jim. James. Better, Mr. Gaffigan, sir, as we have never met, is a parent like me. A father of five. And it is from this mundane day to day nary a full night’s sleep environs, that he paints on his artist’s canvass with the same pure honesty and spirit as if finger painting in chocolate pudding, then licking his fingers with a smudge of chocolate on his chin and a grin. A sweet sweet treat of comic relief with which no OTC painkiller can compete.
The laughter man cometh.
As a former schoolteacher, and having deep respect for the hard bone crushing efforts of artists everywhere, coveted by others, copied by some, I swear to you that this an endorsement of the highest level, and definitely not paid. Let’s just think of it as a sharing of a smile.
For what Jim has is the gift of child sight. The unequivocal and very vocal truths children utter at the top of their lungs in a crowded restaurant, that knock parents to their knees, and leave the rest of the customers in a smothered fit of hysteria.
I know. I have it too.
It never happens out of our sight line, but rather, on the drive home from soccer practice or in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner with unruly and somber distant relatives pointing out the lumps in your gravy with their supercilious tones and the tines of your Great Aunt Sylvia’s hand me down forks.
For me, one afternoon, driving home from soccer practice, my son asked innocently. “Mom, what is a fake orgasm?”
Like the man I met on the road this morning, and with considerably less dexterity, I swerved into a parking lot and calmly met his gaze.
That’s it. One word. Parent Rule #1...always wait for more information before answering a leading question.
He asked me again. Same question. No explanation. So I did the right thing. I carefully and anatomically correctly answered and collapsed with my forehead resting on the steering wheel.
Timing In Comedy Is Everything.
He looked at me and as if my biology made no sense to his naive little brain... asked one more time...”But why Mom? Why would she, the operative word she, do it?”
Before I could answer, his younger brother, nose buried in a book, being what I thought was much younger and much more oblivious to the discussion at hand, looked up and our eyes locked in the rearview mirror. He laid one hand on his brother’s shoulder, glanced at me and replied...
“To please her mate.”
I wish I could tell you what happened after that, but I honestly think I fainted.
The point is, at the moment, not funny at all, but in hindsight, even as I relate it to you now, I can barely type as I am still grinning and holding my sides.
Mr. Gaffigan makes it look so easy, standing up there on the stage, the corners of his mouth already winding up for the first pitch, and then bam! he connects with his audience, because they too, whether they would ever admit it or not, have child sight.
The punchline here, is that we all have child sight, for we were once children, and wherever we go and whatever we do, the children will always find their way home. To the heart of the matter. To us.
For your sake and mine..
I hope you are much better at explaining than I am.
In the meantime, keep your hands on the steering wheel, your eyes on the road, and the child in you, alive and well...
Child Sight Is 20/20