July 24, 2011 by wcobserver
My kids are a pretty confident bunch. In fact some might say a little overconfident given the fact that several of them think they could do an hour at the Comedy Improv on a mere moment’s notice. If only I weren’t so unreasonable, we’d just move out to L.A. so we could keep up with the demand for their gut-busting, stand-up hilarity.
I guess I can’t complain too much. After all, I dug my own proverbial grave by laughing too loud and too often at all my kids’ jokes. But my plan is to be the proving ground for all their comedy. With any luck, they’ll weed out some of the blather so they don’t grow up to be someone’s obnoxious boss in the future. And believe me, I’m doing my part for the plan.
A joke from a 6-year-old, for instance, may start strong. But having a need to write their own material … it all falls apart when they reach for the punchline. Take my daughter, who can’t finish a joke without drifting off into her own psychotic world where bodily functions reign supreme.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?” she asked the other day, with all the accompanying sound effects. Ha ha … snort … giggle.
“Hmmm… I don’t know,” I lied, as if this were my first time at the Laugh Factory. “Why?”
Holding her sides and choking on her own spit, she could barely get the words out … “Because he pooped on his head … ha ha ha ha.”
Obviously I had been thinking of a different chicken. “Wow, he must have been quite a contortionist,” I said.
Silence. “What?” she vacantly asked. “Nothing.” I managed. “You’re soooooo silly,” and she smiled … proudly walking away to think up some other gems.
A joke from my 9-year-old requires a whole different kind of patience. The jokes are long … and sometimes it’s tough to stick with them.
“Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?”
Regales of laughter. This isn’t even a bad joke, but in real life the banana part would’ve gone on about four more times. After all, for a 9-year-old, more is almost always more.
From 13 to 15, a kid just wants to shock his audience. Engaging target.
“Why did the koala bear fall out of the tree?” Pause. “Because he was dead.” Bam. Reload.
“What’s worse than a bee sting?” Pause. “An atomic bomb.” Suppressive fire.
“Why don’t most people like funerals?” Pause. “So many candles … so little cake.”
Target destroyed. At this point, a parent is just hoping their child won’t become Ted Bundy.
Older teenagers always tell wildly inappropriate story jokes that usually involve characters like a priest and a hooker who walk into a bar. They often sound like they originated from a seedy brothel. But more likely they came from too much caddying on the golf course … or in my case, hanging around their grandparents.
I’ve been enduring kid humor for years. But there’s really no alternative. If you shut it down, your kids won’t grow up to be fully functional guests at barbecues and cocktail parties, which … has to be the ultimate goal.
The next time you’re stuck around one of those close talking, back-slapping adults that laugh too hard at their own jokes and inadvertently spit on you when they talk … just remember that their moms probably didn’t let them purge all the bad humor when they were young. And if you absolutely have to have a break from the suffering … find an 11- or 12-year-old, who, every once in a while, tells a joke worth repeating. “If April showers bring May flowers … what do May flowers bring?” Wait for it … “Pilgrims.”