Often, people assume that comedians and other humourous characters must be of a primarily funny or happy disposition. The assumption is that because the material they create for the purpose of entertainment is funny, the creators of this material must be funny people. Logically, such assumptions make sense. But humans aren’t exactly logical, are they? In fact, people have a long history of being rather stupid. A topic I expound upon regularly.
The topic of happy versus funny is nothing new, there are plenty of articles on the topic, it’s actually sort of a tired old chestnut really, but I still come across many people who mistakenly assume that because someone makes them laugh, that person must always be a real hoot. But if one looks into the matter even a bit, it’s very obvious that the opposite is often in fact true.
Comedians and comedy creators are often a bunch of miserable, fucked-up, depressed, cynical mental cases, alcoholics, and drug addicts. Which works out well for the rest of us. I’m personally not above laughing at the mentally ill, it’s actually one of my favourite pastimes. I love comedy.
And now I shall offer my two cents on possible reasons why many funny people are so fucked-up.
I wrote a blog post on one of my other websites (williamjarcher.com, called Mega-Low Maniac) about why writers are often megalomaniacs. This bit on funny people certainly shares some similarities.
The gist was that many writers are way outside the fringes of common humanity due to the required introspection and the sheer volume of simply sitting around and thinking that it takes to be a writer. Looking at humanity from the outside, especially if one is at all self-aware, should lead to some form of loathing for humans in general. Because most people are pretty stupid, whether it’s their fault or not.
Though many comedians are not what might be described as “writers”, per se, they do have to record enough of their thoughts to create comedic material. So, they sit, they think, and they write and refine. It makes them smarter. And they look at life differently than everyone else, to begin with, so the added input and increased exposure to life and its chaos assuredly take an exacting toll. Too much thinking about the human condition can make anyone depressed.
Haha! Real fuckin’ funny!
Examining the plight of our species in all its grimness, and then finding ways to make the horror amusing in order to illicit merriment from the very same people that make life sad, must be truly tragic to the creators of mirth. They take on tragedy, transmute it into humour, and give us the gift of laughter. What more noble and lonely profession exists in our collective reality? I don’t think there is one.
In many tales, old and new, of magicians, wizards, warriors, and super-heroes, often, after a major spell is cast or deflected or a great battle is fought, the witch, wizard, or warrior is utterly wiped out and requires extensive recuperation following the event. They put everything on the line in the execution of their craft and are left completely spent afterward. Good comedians are wizards, witches, magicians, and warriors all wrapped up in one. Imagine how taxing that must be.
So, before automatically assuming that funny means happy, take a second to consider whether that needs to be true. And don’t expect unending mirth from every funny professional you happen to be fortunate enough to share company with, unless you’re paying for it. Being funny for a living imposes more than enough expectations already. The last thing that mentally unstable funny people need is to feel obligated to make your day better at the expense of their own well-being.