What makes you laugh?
We had a discussion about this at dinner the other night. I don’t remember what brought it up – it might have been a newspaper article about a movie or something. But we both noted that our sense of humor has changed as we’ve gotten older. Certainly what Hollywood considers funny is not at all on our radar. Slapstick, fart jokes, that kind of thing – do NOT make us laugh.
In a way, it’s a discouraging feeling. We like to laugh. Laughter is good. It keeps us healthy and helps us heal when we’re sick. It makes life enjoyable. We’d like to laugh more often. But that’s hard to do when so little seems funny. We don’t watch a lot of TV, but we do watch Big Bang Theory. And you know – once in a while, something on there will make me smile because it amused me. But it rarely makes me laugh.
It’s true that a lot of humor is in the surprise. When I do laugh, it’s usually because I didn’t see the joke coming. Maybe as we get older, it’s more of a challenge to surprise us. But I wonder: is it just us? Or do other people notice their sense of humor changing as they age?
Neither Rick or I have ever been fans of slapstick humor, or of humor that embarrasses people. As kids, neither of us cared for Candid Camera. I Love Lucy made us cringe. So in this way, our preference hasn’t changed. We’ve never liked this kind of humor, and it seems to be Hollywood’s mainstay.
Standup comedy is rarely any better. It all seems to hinge on hurting or embarrassing someone. At least, these days, it does. I remember laughing with comedians like Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, or Robin Williams. But that was years ago. Would I still laugh at them now?
Am I normal? Or am I a bitter, grouchy woman married to a bitter, grouchy man?
Okay, I know that’s not the case. We are not bitter or grouchy. We do have joy in our lives. We’re happy. We just don’t laugh much. How do we fix that?