A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this quote on Facebook, which has stuck with me for many a minute:
It's a great debate not only in the world of politics, but that of self-respect: Should we be able to laugh at ourselves?
Throughout the ages, man has always taken himself far too seriously. No one likes being the butt of jokes or the punching bag, but it simply isn't feasible to think that we'll always be at the top of our game 24/7. There will be times when our hair is askew or we fall on a banana peel or we release gas that the most inopportune moments.
What happens next is what cements a person's sense of humor: Do you skulk away and have a pity-party, or do you stand up, pull your trousers up, and laugh at yourself?
Our current "President-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named" is the prime example of a stubborn toddler who simply isn't able to laugh. PERIOD. I haven't seen this man so much as crack an earnest smile, let alone find humor within himself.
As a teenager, like many, I took myself way too seriously. I wouldn't laugh when I did something stupid and I would get incredibly angry when anyone would point out how ridiculous I was (and in high school, I was the epitome of the phrase "a hot mess", sans the hot.) It took my mother and sister to teach me the fact that poking fun at myself isn't a concession sign of weakness - it's a sign of strength! The more you're able to deflate your own ego, the most people you will attract.
There are moments, of course, when you must take yourself seriously. Your work should be an extension of your seriousness and you need to know when to reign in your laughter. Just as people will shy away from you if you're too serious, an equal amount will fly the coop if you take nothing seriously.
This is one of the most tricky balancing acts in our lives, the stasis of seriousness and facetiousness.
How do we test those waters, you might ask? I have a few simple suggestions, which I call the M.O.R.E. System:
- Make Mistakes: Yes, you'll make an ass out of yourself and your cheeks will redden with embarrassment, but you won't know where the line is until you cross it. Never be afraid to make a mistake!
- Observe The Best: Observing comedians in their public and private personas will help cement that stasis for you. Example: Read a biography of Jerry Lewis and then watch him in The Nutty Professor - you'll see the dividing line between The Man and The Clown.
- Read Psychology: One of the best ways to learn about every facet of yourself is to understand the inner workings of the mind. Find out what makes you tick and you'll find the best areas of your personality to "humorize."
- Earn Your Laughs: Contrary to everyone's hopes and dreams, no one is required to laugh at you. Laughter is something that needs to be earned through constant revision and introspection. Whether you're making fun of your nose or telling an earnest joke, it all depends on the timing, the situation, and the person who will (potentially) be laughing.
Now, my friends, I'd like you to go out, spread your wings and fall on your face. March down the street and fall down a sewer grate. Sneeze in the middle of a bris.
In other words: LAUGH, YA MORONS!
I recently signed a book contract to write a biography of famed Marx Brothers foil Margaret Dumont! As with any project, it takes a village so please follow this link to view my book project's page on Patreon.com and pledge a few dollars a month to make my dream more feasible!
Also, I would like to invite you to visit my new website, StevenKrage.com! I'm very proud of my new creation and would love to hear your feedback about it.
And, the newest episode of my podcast, The Objectivist and The Vegan, has been uploaded to SoundCloud!
In this episode, Steven (The Objectivist) and Jack (The Vegan) debate the popular and controversial documentary Cowspiracy! Many topics ensue from this lively discussion, including population increase, the effects of The Industrial Revolution of lifespan, and the importance of clarity in facts in documentaries!
Click the orange button below to hear the two of us jabberjaw!