“I’m Not Funny.”

The Comedic Relief in a Shakespearean Play, and the Art of Not Being Taken Seriously.


“I’m a terrible professor.” Those were the first words my Philosophy teacher said as he proceeded to begin his first lecture of the semester. Later on in the class he told us that it is always better to begin with low expectations so that they can be built upon. I’m not funny. I feel like I should say that so no one gets their hopes up like I did when I won my third grade spelling bee and only received a pat on the back and a free lunch with my overly peppy principal. My sense of humor gallops, but not gracefully, but rather like a dark horse who has just been startled by the presence of a mischievous mouse. There is no knight and shining armor coming to the rescue, only a black stallion with a long luscious mane, and heavy hooves that leave their imprint, like a D-list celebrity leaves theirs in newly poured cement because they can’t quite make it to the strip of stars in Hollywood.

Like a wannabe actor at their first of many auditions, my jumbled jokes and snappy sarcasm don’t always resonate with my harsh critics. Often times resulting in a stern stare, but if I’m lucky I’ll get a couple chuckles. I’m not one for coming up with “knock knock” jokes, but instead I offer comical comebacks that sometimes cause my friends to tear up from laughter, or maybe shame that they’re friends with a knock off Chelsea Handler who is known for her crude and unfiltered remarks. Now, I promise you my personality is as dark as my humor as you can tell by my oh so incredibly promiscuous pessimistic pity party I am inviting you to. I have always been this way and yes, it’s not me it’s you. Not you the reader of this poorly rehearsed routine, but more so just the world around us who has helped in forming an incredibly shaded, but not clouded perspective on the world.

I guess you could say I’m very, almost too good at picking friends because it never fails that I seem to be the court jester in the Shakespearean play, known as my life. Like the court jester or the town’s fool, I am perfectly placed in a dramatic scene as a sense of comic relief. If this were the Elizabethan era, a remarkable time period for English history and Katt Williams and John Mulaney walked into a local bar where peasants partake in diabolical debauchery and stumble on a stool next to me the words I would overhear and exchange would resemble an unorthodox Shakespearean play. The bartender would tend to all but one of their alcoholic addictions, seeing as though Mulaney is a 32 year old recovering alcoholic of eight years and looks like an eager underage prepubescent pupil. Meanwhile Mulaney sips on his seltzer water and Williams lathers his luscious mane with lord knows what as they would begin to bicker belligerent banter back and forth.

The Young Lord Hamlet (1868) byPhilip H. Calderon, which shows Hamlet as a child, riding on the back of Yorick.

While Mulaney maintains an upright position, and is still more than a few inches taller than Williams on his stool in a well-fitted grey suit during his conversation with Williams, Williams who has a son with ADD and who probably has it as well, lunges across the bar soaking his silk attire in perspiration in order to get his outlandish, but relevant point across to his audience. Only taking brief pauses while the crowd revels in his act. Just by looking at these two you wouldn’t expect them to even be in the same place, let alone actually hanging out with each other. Their looks are like a devil’s disguise, misleading audiences everywhere often causing them to not be taken seriously. No one would think twice about them attending the same dinner party. However, they would be the VIP guests at mine. I would be the perfect host in this symbiotic relationship. It would be a potluck seeing as though I can’t cook and pot pairs perfectly with two buck chuck from Trader Joe’s.

Mulaney the spawn of two Irish parents, (which is probably the reason for his hellishly heavy drinking), and Williams the offspring of parents who were members of the Black Panthers during the civil rights movement had a drastically different upbringings. While Mulaney’s parents are a likely match, both Irish-Catholic lawyers, Williams and Mulaney do not appear to be as compatible. Williams jokes in his stand-up about having a lot of white friends, which I can relate to on a spiritual level, he acknowledges that their are very apparent differences. One being that maybe black people aren’t cut out for using a vaporizer because they could potentially destroy their child’s Wii while crying to a Lil Wayne song. Mulaney would agree that getting too infectiously intoxicated could result in you shouting, “Fuck the police!” While a police officer stands over the spiral staircase observing “the sea of drunk toddlers,” chanting loudly enough to be heard all the way in Ferguson.

Whether it’s 2008 or 2015 police brutality and discrimination would still be a topic of discussion as everyone puffs, puffs, and passes around their thoughts and opinions about how prevalent racism is today as much as it was years ago when Williams’ parents boycotted for change. Mulaney comes from a long line of politicians, so I can certainly guarantee they would’ve been thrilled to hear that he was becoming a stand -up comedian and that Barack Obama is the president of the United States because they are also all Republicans. While their upbringing is drastically different they grew up to have interwoven commonalities consciously crafted by their surroundings. However, when you bring an African American and an “Asian American” together to a dinner party almost anything can happen. Whether it’s discussing John McCain’s old age and George Bush’s poor sense of direction, or about how you use to blackout and “ruin” parties and get mistaken for a tall child. There is absolutely no denying that if these to got together it would be a time to remember.

Inn with Drunken Peasants -Adriaen Brouwer
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