By: Nick Rittenhouse ~Guest Writer~
Comedy is needed now more than ever. Beyond the normal pains and hindrances of life, we are now entering an era under an administration that brings ample uncertainty. Besides film, music and literature, we can use our unique humor to relieve some of the stress that everyone feels.
Laughter has famously been considered the “best medicine.” This healing power undoubtedly finds its base in the moments of self-reflective euphoria that come with every well-presented passing joke or remark. What one finds humorous can be used as a lesson about the self, good or bad, when analyzed. No matter if a joke deals with politics, an ideology or a clumsy, bumbling friend, there is no uniting force better than red cheeks and dripping eyes.
What cannot be underestimated is the ability to laugh at oneself. The fact that there exists intelligent life, let alone any one, is awe-inspiring and “beautifully absurd,” to use Albert Camus’ words. There should be nothing taken too seriously, for the painfully serious often breeds anxiety and, later, regret. If a friend pokes fun at you, and a smile begins to grow, know that there must be truth in the words spoken. Without truth, it wouldn’t feel so personally calibrated, and one would likely be left with a look of confusion and the joke could hilariously be turned on the attacker. In this way, an awkward moment can provide ground for a comical rebuttal, a destroyer of silence.
Beyond interpersonal dinner table conversations, comedy can be used as a tool to make abysmal realities known, to spread truth. The clear strength of comedian John Oliver, and the reason for his continued success, is his ability to weave sarcasm and witty jokes into an otherwise dismal situation. People flock to him, not because he is reporting anything ignored by The Times or CNN, but because he makes news interesting. Comedy presented in this context may seem like it belittles the meaning of a story when, in reality, it spreads awareness of current events. The whole, unedited truth just seems to be too much for humans to swallow.
There should be no prohibited topics, whether one is a comedian on stage or a child at a family reunion. The dinnertime taboos of sex, politics and money should not be avoided but embraced as essential if stronger, less insecure people are to be fashioned. The above topics are a large part of what makes an individual – making any relevant jokes all the more salient and contemplative.
Words have only the power that is personally granted to them. To unlock their meaning, focus less on the words themselves more on the accompanying tone and the speaker. Laugh at all the dark corners of this life, especially your own. This laughter, not the immolation of a campus, is an effective means of gaining credibility and followers.