Thursday

December 14th, 2017

Insight

Not So Funny

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published Feb. 27, 2015

Every week, whether I feel like it or not, I sit down in front of my computer to write my column. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to say, some weeks I don't. I try to choose subjects that are varied from week to week so that the column has appeal to a wide range of readers. Some weeks the column is political, some weeks I write about current events, some columns are show biz orientated, some columns are personal experiences, or sometimes I'll harangue on popular culture. Whatever happens to move me at any given time, I write about. Hopefully, if you don't care for the column this week, next week you will.

The one thing that I strive for is to be entertaining. Some readers may agree with me on a given subject, some readers may not, but I try not to be boring or pedantic in my writing. As a columnist my job is to communicate in a concise and coherent way while at the same time keeping it interesting and engaging. If my readers can't stay interested in what they're reading, I'll lose them.

It's always a plus if I can get some humor into the column, but it isn't always easy to do in these unfunny times in which we live. Humor, generally speaking, isn't as abundant as it used to be. What's so funny about the world situation? It's hard to get in a funny mood when it seems the world has gone mad and what appears to be an increasing number of morally challenged degenerate monsters are killing and destroying civilization. Not a whole lot of chuckles can come out of destruction, murder, rape, enslavement, and torture such as what is currently going on throughout the Middle East and Africa.

Here at home, special interest groups, greedy politicians, and other lamebrains increasingly enact laws and regulations over our daily lives, which slowly but surely impede personal freedom. It's done in the name "for the good of all" or for "the betterment of the planet" or some other high-minded baloney reason. Mostly these days the reason has something to do with environmental global warming. Environmentalists and government will find ways to hamstring personal freedoms no matter how far fetched they seem to be.

It's never done all at once.

Little by little changes are made in our movements and ways of living. We hardly notice it, but one day we wake up and those small freedoms that we took for granted for so long are gone. And healthcare is the kicker. Once government gets involved in every person's healthcare, they can literally control every aspect of a person's life. We're seeing it now. More and more government administrators and bureaucrats will dictate what you are allowed to eat, how you heat your home, what sort of car you are allowed to drive, how you raise your children, what kind of medicine you are allowed to take, and ultimately when you will not be allowed to have your medicine anymore.

I can't think of anything that is less funny than politics, especially the kind we have today, which is so nasty and divisive. Yet more than ever, politics is everywhere throughout our pop culture, media, and schools. You can't go to a movie without being hit over the head with a social or political message. Entertainment shows on television always seem to get their political agendas woven into the storylines. You can't get news without a political slant, mostly leftist. Public schools and universities preach and indoctrinate left-leaning political thinking.

Even comedians aren't funny anymore. Doing a riff with a political agenda might show your hip, young audience how cool you are, but it usually isn't very funny. Can you name a comedian today who doesn't do political humor? It's amazing how comics years ago managed to get laughs without bringing the politics in. How was Buster Keaton able to get laughs without going political? Sid Caesar, Jackie Gleason, Lucy, Jack Benny, does anyone know what their politics were? It doesn't matter because they were funny. Really funny.

Even Bob Hope, who did political jokes, did so in a gentle manner, never nasty or hateful.

I'm old enough to remember a time when politics didn't permeate every aspect of our lives. I remember having friends for years and not knowing who they voted for or what their politics were. It didn't matter. It wasn't that important. Why is it so necessary now? Maybe for the same reason that it is so necessary to text and tweet every thing you do and every thought you have to the entire world every day.

People who are obsessed with selfies and tweeting are certainly self-involved. They may even be narcissistic. But one thing they ain't. They ain't funny, McGee.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's also a Southern California-based freelance writer.

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