The Animation Pimp: Life's a Piece of Shit
To be a real philosopher, one must be able to laugh at philosophy.
- Blaise Pascal
No comedian is on stage to make people laugh. You’re on stage because you’re damaged and you need love from strangers.
- Dana Gould
The best comedy comes from the losses, not the wins, in your life.
- Dave Attell
Early 1990s. Montreal. Walking. Woman strolls by.
“You should smile more.”
“Why not!? Isn’t it better to smile through life?”
Inside I rolled my eyes. Outside I feigned agreement.
Figured it would get me into her pants.
I didn’t smile again until I got ball cancer.
As a kid I laughed a lot.
Not Really My Pops was a Brit.
He loved comedy, especially the crude stuff.
Sunday was comedy day.
Mornings we listened to Dr. Demento.
Evenings we watched Monty Python (I’d also seen Holy Grail).
I was pretty young. Maybe 7 or 8.
I had no idea what was going on in Python shows except that it was really silly, funny, and the animation parts caused me laughfarts (a rare condition wherein intense laughter stimulates a series of short, rapid farts).
Derek and Clive, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, SNL.
Then I heard George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” at age 10.
I made certain that adults, peers, and authority figures were aware that I was armed with this seven-word arsenal.
“Hey Dad, you’re a tit shit!”
“Mr. Wilson, you’re a shitfucker.”
Didn’t go over too well.
I tasted mom’s new soap bars often.
Also got to know the principal quite well.
A very nice man.
He threw chalk at me and kept me late a lot.
I think he was a pedophile.
He’s dead now.
At 15, a friend and I had rented a vhs tape (I think it was vhs) of Richard Pryor’s concert film, Live on The Sunset Strip. Two years earlier, in 1980, Pryor made the headlines for snorting cocaine, lighting himself on fire and running aflame down the street. During the show Pryor joked openly about this harrowing moment before concluding the piece by lighting a match and saying, "What's that? Richard Pryor running down the street." The audience ROARED with laughter.
Holy fuck! I remember the shock as I watched this bit. He’s making fun of this horrible moment. The guy almost died and here he is telling jokes about it…and shit… people are laughing!! I had a small sack of shit for a brain at 15 (it’s an inch bigger today, 30 years later) so I couldn’t articulate what it all meant. I just thought it was cool. Everything could be laughed at and joked about. I don’t think I fully understood this joke until I faced some traumas of my own years later.
Being exposed to comedy was like having an all-access pass to a secret room in the adult world (well... that, along with the 70s hard core mags filled with hairy bushes and scar-faced women that Not Really My Pops stored under his bed and the liquor bottles left unlocked in the living room cabinet). Wow...this is what goes on!?!?!?
And they called us kids naughty!