Wednesday, April 28, 2010

They Laugh, Lest They . . .

Lest they cry, I think is how it goes.

My son, 21 years old, is starting to think about marriage. He asks,
"What do I look for in a girl? I want someone who thinks, who's got a brain, but too serious isn't good, right? And she's got to have a sense of humor."
A sunny disposition, would be nice, too, I tell him. We all get dark, eventually. Into every life, a little rain must fall. Fine, I'll stop.

But it's true, isn't it? If you have a choice going into it, why not look for happy?

Too bad Niecy Nash is taken.

I knew absolutely nothing about this comedienne until the postman dropped off my People magazine last week. It's for the waiting room so no one gets too tired of waiting for me,* although the cleaning staff throws them away, prefers Russian newspapers. I don't know why.

The April 26 issue is the one with Phoebe Prince on the cover. Phoebe, only 15, killed herself because she couldn't tolerate being bullied at her high school. Nobody told her you have to be really thick-skinned to get through life. Or maybe nobody's skin is that thick.

You're supposed to outgrow this in middle school, we tell the kids, bullying.

But let's talk about Niecy. She's host and producer of Clean House and is known as no-nonsense Officer Raineesha Williams on Comedy Central's Reno 911. My mom loves her on Dancing with the Stars.

The comedienne's story is powerful.
At age 15 she watched as her mother's boyfriend shot her mom, "like a dog in the street." Her mom survived, but eight years later, younger brother Michael, 17, was shot to death at his high school over a love triangle.

"My mother said, 'I give up,'" says Nash, who refused to let her do that. Instead, she stood at the foot of her mom's bed every day telling jokes until she finally cheered up. "that's when I realized comedy was a gift."
It sure is. If you can make 'em laugh, it's a gift. Try to make a sad person laugh and chances are, you won't succeed. But you can try, and as Ms. Nash discovered, if you persevere, you might succeed. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.

Most of us have a friend who forwards jokes. Mine is Sarelle. Either she's up late looking for them online, or people send them to her, but she emails them to everyone she knows. When my father was hardly breathing, we got him to gasp until he liked it with jokes from Sarelle. Try them on a sad friend. Nothing to lose.
A rabbi was walking down the street when, suddenly, a strong gust of wind blew his streimel (fur hat) off his head. The rabbi ran after his hat but the wind was so strong it kept blowing his hat farther and farther away. He just couldn"t catch up with it.

A young gentile man, witnessing this event and being more fit than the rabbi, ran after the hat and caught it. The young gentile man handed the hat over to the rabbi. The rabbi was so pleased and grateful that he gave the man twenty dollars, put his hand on the man"s head and blessed him. The young man was very excited about both the tip and the blessing.

The young gentile decided to take his new found wealth to the racetrack. He bet the entire $20 on the first race that he could.

After the races the young man returned home and recounted his very exciting day at the races to his father.

"I arrived at the fifth race," said the young man. "I looked at the racing program and saw a horse by the name of Top Hat was running. The odds on this horse were 100-to-1. It was the longest shot in the field."

After saving the rabbi"s hat, having received the rabbi"s blessing, gotten the $20, and seeing Top Hat in the fifth race, I thought this was a message from God. So, I bet the entire 20 dollars on Top Hat. An amazing thing happened. The horse that was the longest shot and who did not have the slightest chance to even show, came in first by 5 lengths.

"You must have made a fortune," said the father.

"Well yes, $2000. But wait, it gets better," replied the son.

"In the following race, a horse by the name of Stetson was running. The odds on the horse were 30 to 1" Stetson being some kind of hat and again thinking of the rabbi"s blessing and his hat, I decided to bet all my winnings on this horse."

"What happened?" asked the excited father.

"Stetson came in like a rocket. Now I had $60,000!"

"Are you telling me you brought home all this money?" asked his excited father.

"No," said the son.

"I lost it all on the next race. There was a horse in this race named Chateau, which is French for hat. So I decided to bet all the money on Chateau. But the horse broke down and came in last."

"Hat in French is "Chapeau" not "Chateau" you moron," said the father.

"You lost all of the money because of your ignorance. Tell me, what horse won the race?"

The son answered, "A long shot from Japan named Yamaka.**"
The following aren't as clean, but they would probably still get a PG-13 rating if there were such things. They're wife jokes worthy of Henny Youngman, for those of you who remember him. If you have politically-correct-sensitivity, change the word "wife" to "partner."
My wife sat down on the settee next to me as I was flipping channels. She asked,
'What's on TV?'

I said, 'Dust.'

And then the fight started.
My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary. She
said, 'I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds.'

I bought her a bathroom scale.

And then the fight started.
My wife and I were sitting at a table at my school reunion, and I kept staring
at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.

My wife asked, 'Do you know her?'

'Yes,' I sighed, 'She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking
right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober

'My Goodness!' says my wife, 'who would think a person could go on celebrating
that long?'

And then the fight started.

The truth is, probably Ms. Nash has got to be funnier.


* I'm hardly ever late, is the truth.
** A yamaka is a skull cap. Some Jewish people wear these to remind them that there's always something above.


Wait. What? said...

laughter is the best medicine. My oldest was always the family comedian, what a blessing to ahve one in the family.

Syd said...

I think that I would tell him to look at the young woman's family and how she interacts with them. I was told that one can tell a lot about a man from how he treats his own mother. Perhaps the same can be said of how a woman relates to her father.

Anonymous said...

Good to laugh, ha ha...

CiCi said...

I am impressed that your 21 year old son is comfortable enough in his own family to ask a question like this. It makes me feel good knowing in some families discussions like this are normal.

Tzipporah said...

love the hat joke.

What is it you Frenchies say? Toupé?

Jack Steiner said...

And then the fight started- that email has been making the rounds again.

But you are right, laughter is of critical importance.

therapydoc said...

Syd, that's great advice.

And Jack, you're right, the fight jokes do seem stale-- but everything else was too blue for my blog.

Tzip, dat was a good one.

Cat, as Bob and Ray used to say, "ya' hafta'." I can't even remember the joke, but it's like, you have to laugh. Someone correct me.

And TechnoBabe, if a person looks at kids as real people with feelings and good ideas, then talking at any age shouldn't be such an impossible dream. But it's the hardest job we'll ever have, parenting. And launching is one of the hardest parts.

Jack Steiner said...

Stale isn't necessarily bad. Those jokes are standard fare for MOTs.

Wondering Soul said...

Love the jokes TD.
Thank you.

Hoping you are doing ok.

Ella said...

Yikes, 21 is TOO YOUNG to be thinking about marriage. Still have to get thru grad school, first job, etc.
But yes, be sure she gets along with her family, or be ready to handle the strife if she doesn't. Be sure you both think the same way about money and raising kids and until death do us part.
Smarter than you, if you can handle it. As strong as you, so both of you can lead the family as needed. These things have worked for me for nearly 11 yr.
But seriously, wait a few more years to think much more about marriage.

tuesday@11 said...

Maybe he is ready at 21 because he has had a solid marriage modeled for him?

therapydoc said...

That's the hope, Tuesday.

abroadermark said...

I LOVE your blog, Thearapydoc!!

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Great positive post. I am a big fan of humor and have a lot to say on the topic, it's a serious issue. Thanks for sharing what you did, particularly about this specific actress/comedian - bomedians tend to have serious backstories and be contemplative people, sometimes with tragic pasts that they to various degrees dealt with and overcame. Martin Short lost his brother when he was twelve and both his parents a few years later, that's just one example...