I’m too hot to be funny. This has brought me great distress as an aspiring comedian.
Some of the funniest humor is self-deprecating. If you want people to laugh, make fun of yourself. People find it hilarious when you bond with them over the mean things that they’re thinking about you.
I recently learned that comedy is truth and pain. If you were born with a big forehead or creepily small hands, all you have to do is talk about how much of a freak you are. Then your audience will stop staring at you and start laughing at (with?) you.
Unfortunately, I was not born with free comedic material. My complementary genes, good health and reasonable fashion sense will always put me at a disadvantage. It’s just not fair. My good looks don’t cause me pain in life, but they are a huge handicap on stage.
Nobody wants to laugh at the hot girl. Picture this: a 5’3″ tall man walks on stage and asks to have his mike lowered. Hilarious. Look at how comically short he is.
Now picture this: A gorgeous 5’3″ woman walks on stage and asks to have her mike lowered. People get annoyed. Women think, “I can’t believe she’s not wearing heels!”
Another example: an obviously overweight woman walks onstage and asks a guy in the front row if he’s going to eat that last cookie. Mean laughter ensues. I walk on stage and ask the same question. Awkward silence. Judgment. Maybe a “boo” or two.
Why do people find such entertainment in others’ pain? Maybe I could complain that I get hit on too often. Is that funny?
Which is a big deal for me because I’m shy. So shy, in fact that it surprises me that my few close friends stuck around long enough to get to know me. But I’m glad they did.
This was an important speech. A toast to my longtime best friend on her wedding day. I was nervous. As the Matron of Honor, I knew that my speech would be remembered for years to come. I wrote and rewrote my thoughts over and over again, asking myself, “is this joke funny or am I crazy?” Will I be met with awkward silence? Judgment? Boos?
And then the day came. I was to take the stage after the Best Man gave his toast. Dinner was served. I looked over at the Best Man and he was giving his note cards one last review. He ordered one last drink from the bar. And then my heart started beating hard in my chest. He was nervous. And that made me more nervous. What if everyone hated his speech? And that made them hate my speech even more?
The Best Man spoke. I barely heard him. Something about the groom. People clapped. We drank champagne. And then it was my turn.
The adrenaline was pumping so hard through my veins; I feared I would drop dead. And ruin their wedding day. The DJ smiled at me apologetically because he forgot my name. It’s okay, I remembered. I took the mike and introduced myself. My hands were shaking. I could barely read the note cards.
I started reading. Talking. I remembered why I was there on stage, to honor and make fun of my best friend.
And then something unexpected happened. People laughed.