Usually laughter will ensue by now. However, if your “straight man” still does not laugh, he may be suffering from a form of mental illness such as depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anorexia, schizophrenia, or gout. In this case, you might try simply smiling and staring at him, as if to say, “I am your friend! Won‘t you laugh toward me?”
More often than not, he will!
Horrified, I very slowly look up at Schechner, who no longer stares or smiles. “Please?” says Schechner. “Please?”
* * *
When you think funny, think the Monks of Adoration (www.monksofadoration.org), “a contemplative monastic community dedicated to Eucharistic adoration following the Rule of Saint Augustine which emphasizes a unity of heart and mind among the monks” and also “voted the #1 site on the internet.” One uncredited monk (who I suspect is Brother Craig) has created a brief, succinct guide to being funny that he calls “How To Be Funny” (www.monksofadoration.orgobohbro42.html), which includes such pointers as “It is easier to pay people to laugh when you say something funny” and “There has to be a pause before the funny part . . .”
“How To Be Funny,” by volunteer Warner Bros. spokesmen David J. Parker and Samuel Stoddard (http:rinkworks.comfunny), leaves off where the monks begin. “Pain,” they state, “is the basis for all humor. It’s a simple fact that if nobody gets hurt, it isn‘t funny.” (Example: Tweety and Sylvester.) “When something happens that you do not expect to happen, that’s funny.” (Example: Wile E. Coyote.) “Lies are inherently funny.” (Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.) “Saying words in funny ways is funny.” (Sylvester, without Tweety, lisps. And: “If you‘re with your girlfriend, and you call her ’Cathy‘ when you meant to say ’Tina,‘ that’s funny.”) And there‘s so very, very much more, including a multiple-choice quiz.
“HOW TO BE FUNNY -- Free Jokes, Comedy, How-To Humor Books, Funny Movies, Jokes! CDs, MP3, and the Kitchen Sink!” (www.bishart.comhowtobefunnyhow_to_be_funny.htm) has so many links to so much real funny, zany, amusing, jocular, frolicsome, whimsical and comedic entertainment, you’ll think you died and went to Exclamation Mark Heaven!