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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Humour!

Author E.B. White once said, "Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind." 

Good humour always interests me. Many movies and stories have jokes that are often very descriptive, but very few of them have good humour. I was speaking to an amateur playwright friend from my French class other day and I mentioned about my desire to act in a play someday, as an old man. I always find them extremely humourous; especially in the plays. There is a look of “that’s obvious” or “that’s irrelevant.” Or “I knew that.” on their face that turns any serious and complex situation into nothing but a repeating history. 

We were discussing creative drama and modern art one day in class; of its intent being not clear to the audience and that the improvisational style driving the story towards multiple interpretations left to the viewer to conclude, serves no purpose. Then, a friend of mine narrated a true story of a playwright. The author wrote several and most famous plays that were conventional in all sense. One day he dies leaving an unpublished play; the play, very different from his previous ones and driving several perspectives. His admirers perform the play. Two shows later when the reviews were out, the critics bragged about their interpretations only to find out later, from the makers that it was a satire on creative drama. 

Recently I watched a play called “The Pillowman”, a Tony award winning black comedy. The drama narrates the troubled childhood of a writer, his stories and coincidental events of its execution, that puts him under the police radar. The play kept us engaged till the end with it’s humourous narration of subjects that can otherwise be very gory. The story neatly knits several  stories by the writer and thus making it not one but a communion of several small stories but with one soul, that of the writer. One of the several good dialogues that I recollect is when a detective narrates to the writer, the story that he has written and gives it a long title, something like - "A little Chinese boy walking on a railway track....." and asks for the writers opinion on the title. "This is the worst title i have ever heard. It needs two commas and a full stop." the writer replies.

I have always wondered how and from where a good humour originates. I knew it had to be situational yet spontaneous; just like it has to be understood by the listener. And one day it came to me; again during my french class when our teacher asked us to complete a few sentences; I got humourous specially on this one - Si tu ne sais pas nager….and I completed it thus – pas de problem, prends ce pont! (If you do not know how to swim….don’t worry take the bridge) :-)

8 comments:

  1. ah yes- humour- and have you thought of the other aspect of it- how humour is cultural- my hubby & I find it hard to 'get' the US humour- we tend to prefer the British humour- or Asian humour- we made the mistake of inviting some 'American' friends to watch a Singapore 'sitcom' with us- we were laughing our heads off- only to glance over at them looking very confused and uncomfortable- they were NOT getting the humour!

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  2. Hello Anjuli...Good to see you back after what seemed like a real long break. Yes, I love British humour. However i also adore the American sitcom - Friends. :-) Never seen Singapore though

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  3. Awesome and interesting post.

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  4. I have tried and tried to figure out why your posts don't show up on my blog reader- I have to consistently check to see if you have updated...the last post which appears on my blog reader is from October- so I have to manually click on your blog and see what your latest one is-- any suggestions?? I would hate to miss an update!!

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  5. Hello Anjuli...I htink you could try follow by email link in my blog page. what it does is it sends an email when i post something new on my blog

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  6. Spontaneous and yet humour has to be understood by the listener is true. Otherwise it will be like a dissected frog.

    Good take on the incomplete sentence Ajeya.

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  7. AnonymousMay 28, 2012

    Straight to the point and well written! Why can't everyone else be like this?

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