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Friday, July 26, 2013

Funny isn't Easy

Ruby wants me to talk about funny. But funny isn’t easy, or at least that’s what my mother says.
She’s a comic writer (comedy writer?) A few years ago she was writing for Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. That stopped in 1954 and then she wrote for just Imogene for about a year. The producer Max Liebman got her into all of this.

She worked on Stanley for a while and now she’s working on something for the Bell Telephone Hour. She’s kind of branching out a little from comedy but she isn’t sure where she’s going yet. I think she may want to write a novel.

Mom has worked with some pretty amazing writers, like Mel Brooks. Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and Mel Tolkin. Mel says she was the one who wrote everything down and if she didn’t like a joke, it didn’t get in the show. Mom is pretty strict about what she thinks is funny.

My mom is beautiful, by the way. I have no idea why she wanted to be a comedy writer. She could be a princess or a dark-haired Doris Day. But since I was little, she tried out her jokes on me and made me laugh.
If I was going to do something right now, I’d do it about eating. Someone on a diet that has to go to a fancy party and fit into a dress and they can’t have any cookies and the cupboard’s full of cookies. And there’s maybe a husband who keeps bringing home treats, and the wife has to keep herself from eating when the husband goes to bed.

What do you think?

I’m working on something like that so I can give it to my mom. But if she uses it I want a writer’s credit. That means money, you know?

Not that I want to be a comedy writer. I want to be an actress, but not in comedy all the time. I mean I’m crazy about I Love Lucy and there are days when all I want to do is make people laugh. But I’d love to be a real actress in a real theater, and have people line up to see me cry onstage.

What do I think is funny? Lucy’s rubber faces, for one. You can’t teach someone how to make those. But whether you’re making faces, falling or delivering a line you have to have timing. Timing is everything.

What else can I tell you?
  • Bad jokes work best in the middle of an argument.
  • Hiccups can be funny, but not as funny as you think.
  • Jokes about politicians and people and things we know.
  • Things we think and never say.
  • Saying them in funny voices.
That’s my specialty.

I like Sid Ceasar and Imogene Coca better than Lucy. But I really like George Burns and Gracie Allen. My mom says their show may be going off the air this year so I hope they get another one. I love how George says, “Say good night, Gracie” and she looks at the audience and says “Good night, Gracie.” She plays dumb but she always gets the laugh. And her and George seem like they really, really love each other.

 That’s not funny but I like it anyway.

 I think the best way to be funny is to figure out what makes you laugh. If it’s funny to you then you can make it funny to other people.
If… you know. You’re funny.

Peeking photo: Jahyne Foxtongue

Comic with specs: Ryan Abel