What the world needs now is laughter, sweet laughter! or "Phyllis Diller and Paul Lynde fight depression!"

What the world needs now is laughter, sweet laughter! or "Phyllis Diller and Paul Lynde fight depression!"
PHYLLIS DILLER -- Pictured: Comedian Phyllis Diller -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank

In a world of debates, war, strife, and Kim Kardashian, where does one turn for true comfort? Some turn to schnapps, some to sin, and many to simmering anger. Yet, no matter what conflicts and conundrums life hands us, we can always find solace in one immovable pastime: Humor.

Yet, sadly, much of the humor of currents movies and stand-up comedians is mundane and profanity-laced (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but a swear should not be used as frequently as a punctuation mark!) Who wants to hear stream-of-consciousness musings about a man’s wife giving birth? Who wants to sit back while a sweaty, uncomfortable looking man perspires and talks about groping women (and I’m not talking about The Donald!)

I was brought up not on the humor of the day, but the gems of the past. My humor, and most of my life-view, was honed by watching re-runs of I Love Lucy, The Golden Girls, and Mama’s Family (which explains my affinity for middle-aged idols.) I ask you to find another person aged twenty-five who is more interested in Vivian Vance than Selena Gomez (and I promise you, that’ll be a long, arduous¬†journey to find another person as nuts as I am!)


Or an eight-year-old that had a picture of Nancy Kulp as Jane Hathaway in his bedroom…

Whenever I get blue and don’t know what to do, I simply pop in my DVD of The Lucy Show or The Beverly Hillbillies and laugh the day away. Yes, the humor may seem hackneyed and the props primitive, but I dare you to find a more glorious TV moment than the goddamn Iguana Monster on Flash Gordon:

And, of course, I’ll turn to the glorious and individual stand-up comedians from that era as well. It was the time of the “one-liner” and the “zinger.” A time where no one was sacred, no one got offended, and, if they did, comedians seldom apologized.

I’ll never forget the first time I set my eyes of Phyllis Diller. Here was this woman with an insane fright wig kvetching about her sloth husband Fang, each tight joke capped with that individual and singular laugh:

Similarly, I was drawn to women who were severely underappreciated in their time, including that mainstay of Bewitched, Alice Ghostley:

And, of course, you can’t speak of Bewitched without bringing up the female Alice Ghostley, Paul Lynde. Being a slightly-effeminate¬†nut myself, I grasped onto Lynde’s unique and snide sense of humor. Many people compliment how close our personalities are, which I always tell my mom and dad to take as the highest of compliments.

The list could go on for years: Lucille Ball…

Mary Wickes and Alice Pearce…

Kathleen Freeman…

Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury…

…they have all found their way into my DNA.

I ask everyone who reads this article to take a moment out of each day and rediscover the humor of the past. The world is a rather daunting place, but life is made much easier by having such a wealth of humor to fall back on.

So, check your preconceived notions at the door and sit back, relax, and transport yourself to Gilligan’s Island or The Love Boat and laugh ’til your sides split.

And, as always, I’ll leave you with a song:



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  • The only one I'll comment on is Sister Stigmata, who scared the you know what out of Jake and Elwood just with her ruler, even though we both know she wasn't in Calumet City.

  • Agree one billion percent!

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