Your Friendly Neighborhood Sense of Humor: How Far Do You Go in Pursuit of Funny?
How far have you been known to go for a joke?
I have been known to go very far indeed. Not for the single quippy one-off, of course, and I HATE the ever-beloved "prank," but for the long-running, clever yet understated gag which continues to grow and giggle over time, I have been known to run a darn long way.
Is that a good thing, though, or a bad thing?
There are some very real downsides. Sometimes, for example, I can see the point of the project getting murkier as I stretch for that stupid punchline. It tends to interfere with my sleep, even; I'll wake up mumbling possible turns of phrase to get to that magical acronym, or justifying my flimsy argument for continuing on a shaky path towards an inconsistent end.
I can often not distinguish what is done for humor and what is done because it is a good idea...at least, not until I get in front of a business partner or administrator. When forced to justify to the brass why I am tossing good work hours after a joke instead of doing real things, I find I can quickly decipher whether I am in it for real or in it for the laugh.
There is also a component of this process that does stem from lack of self-love, and that's extremely hard for me to say. I love how much I love myself, but I have yet to figure out how not to go out of my way to be loved by other people. Wanting people to laugh at my jokes is no different for me than for the average self-loathing stand-up comedian. I just happen to be working in an arena where not every person is thinking the same thing.
Then again, my sense of humor is part of the voice that gets me hired, makes me friends, and helps me establish myself in social settings. And I'm not ever going to stop being funny, or change my speech patterns to suit a more professional, clean-line-cutting-edge setting: I'm simply not a bland person and selling myself that way serves no purpose. And people LAUGH when I laugh; I am infectious and my laughter makes sense to their soul. I mean, I have met the occasional soulless person who just looks at me like I'm a psychopath, but those are not my people. I have so many other people.
In the pursuit of what is funny, I find community, I admit defeat, I let go of inconsistencies and I find myself. I think that's more than enough reason to keep driving towards the elusive perfect moment of comic relief.