Who’s your favourite standup comedian? Or sitcom comedian? Or skit comedian? Ellen Degeneres? Jerry Seinfeld? Kate McKinnon? All of them do not have a sense of humour. First of all let’s look at why.
Our society likes to pride itself on the modesty of society. ‘Look at that bad comedian – he’s laughing at his own jokes.’ Laughing at your own jokes is just too prideful a thing. So a successful comedian cannot laugh at their own jokes.
The theory goes that a comedian will just have to repeat their jokes enough so they are no longer funny to themselves and they can give that deadpan delivery.
Well who can give a deadpan delivery every time? Someone with no sense of humour – that’s who. As a comedian all they have to do is memorize the jokes. They don’t need to deaden themselves to the humour.
I can tell now that some of you are beginning to accept the lack of humour amongst your favourites. So let’s look at how they do it. Someone has to have a sense of humour on the team and that usually falls to the behind the scenes writers. See that standup comedian, it looks like they are the whole show. But there are agents, promoters, managers and of course writers backing them up.
Behind the scenes writers can laugh at their own jokes. They can laugh and guffaw all they like, nobody is going to see them do it. Yes, they can laugh out loud. Yes, they can roll on the floor laughing. It’s even rumoured that once, on the Monty Python set, that a writer even laughed himself to death. But that is just a rumour. He actually just laughed hard enough that he had a heart attack. Thanks to modern medicine he lived to write another joke.
But wait, you say, having a comedian who has no sense of humour, is like having a politician without empathy!
There it is. The realization that politicians never empathize with their constituents. That’s why they never deliver on their most important promises. Even though they wax on about how much they would like to.
So John Cleese has no sense of humour. Bob Newhart definitely had no sense of humour. Bill Cosby …
Those rare times when live shows were taped and the comedian(s) start to burst out laughing – that simply means that the comedian has an ever so slight sense of humour that is usually not activated. Tim Conway and Harvey Korman on the Carol Burnett used to sometimes begin to get jokes. They snickered for a few seconds and then got back to the performance.
Even today there are some slip ups on Saturday Night Live where the performer might begin to laugh or snicker. So perhaps the players just have a small, undeveloped sliver of a sense of humour. And they are only getting the jokes now, while it is all being acted out in front of them.
I’ve known all about this secret writer conspiracy of standup comics for years now. I’ve put my name out there but no one wants to hire me as a writer. They say that I have too much empathy for the scammed. Which is why I have decided to publish this tell-all about the industry.