Monday, 6 February 2012

Serious piece of humour

There are various articles, treatises, volumes and journals about the sad relationship between comedians and depression.

The last I read was that Jim Carrey—who seems to laugh and smile even when he is trying hard to be serious—suffers from bouts of depression. Maybe the fact that I, on the whole, am not a depressive could be an indicator of how awful my humour is.
That is the correlation between humour and depression: good comedians have it, bad comedians pass depression on. A former British politician who had the same problem as Jim Carrey—seeming to laugh and smile even when the worst tragedies struck—must have been a good comedian. And the way Tony Blair has made riches out of nothing must have been the real reason he was laughing away at tragedies. And whoever made him whatever he is in the Middle East must have had an even better sense of depraved humour. Or should that be deprived?

But I soldier on—like a crazed mountain climber I try hard to find humour in anything and all the time. The minute I become manic depressive I will realise I have been successful. I don’t know what the main reason for this depressive streak is but maybe the fact that trying to get people to laugh is no laughing matter could explain it.
Laughing is a serious matter. Take my last article in The Executive—if you have managed to get to this point then you are advised to reach out and read my previous one (

If you are such a sucker for pain then read on. I never knew that management journals of the magnitude of The Executive could harbour such painful sights as masochistic readers. But obviously we all have loads of stuff still to learn. We never know what lies behind closed doors and on the peaks of mountains.

But, as usual, I inanely digress. Let me get to the point.

Someone dear to me –yes I too seem to have a masochistic streak—told me how he enjoyed my light-hearted article in The Executive. I beamed as I usually do when I find someone as kind as that. My smile was even bigger than Jim Carrey’s and Tony Blair’s contorted into one, as I tried following what he said after that. He said: “What was the point of the article?” I gasped in solid exasperation especially when he pointedly stated again how he had thoroughly enjoyed it. Words failed me. Now words, except in some terrific tragedy, hardly ever fail me. Not being a guru in management or laughter or a guru at anything except saying the truth, I said I didn’t know. I was being serious and not my mocking, usual self when confronted with the unknown.

I re-read the piece. The worst thing any writer can do is re-read his published stuff, especially if it is “humorous”; nothing can be worse than trying to dig out the humour and explain it. I fretted, I sweated, I cried.

I re-read it again and tried hard to see what sort of management content it had. I did not manage to eke out any plausible reason for the piece. So I just blurted out that I thought it was funny and couldn’t explain it. Try explaining why John Cleese, Jim Carrey or Billy Connelly or any other comedian is funny and you sound dafter than Inspector Clouseau when he explains some problematic clue. (For the younger generation of readers, Clouseau was the terribly bad inspector in the Pink Panther films. Not the cartoons. Oh no I’m back to my point—explain anything especially humorous and you fall flatter than a pancake.)

So once my management piece of humour failed I thought to hell with it. If I jot down an explanation of why I feel I should write humorously I know I have failed miserably and seriously.

So expect more of this but please don’t ask me to explain what it all means. When that happens I understand what Jim Carrey and Co must feel.

This concludes my article but, unfortunately for you who are too serious and take life a tad too importantly, it does not conclude my series of articles about nothing in particular.

This article first appeared in The Executive January 2012 no 38

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