I grew up in a home that loved to laugh. I thought every home was full of joy and laughter, but quickly realized that many of my friends didn’t have that same luxury. As I was able to spend more time with my friends at their houses, I realized that although many homes look really good on the outside, the inside can be almost toxic. Humor and laughter was often used as a weapon of mass destruction.
My mother and father both had their own style of humor that was contagious to me and my two sisters. We ran with it and spent hours on end making funny videos and pulling pranks that would keep everyone on their toes. The thing I remember my parents teaching me about kidding around was that, although you are looking for the laugh, sometimes the joke can hurt!
There are very few comedians in life that I believe are truly funny. Especially those that have learned how to be funny without being vulgar. Sitting at a comedy club in Birmingham Alabama one night, I turned to my wife and asked her if the “F-Bomb” was somehow innately funny. It seemed like every comedian that stepped onto the stage would pepper their entire act with cuss words and the word du jour was almost always the “F-Bomb!” I’ve really never understood the concept of continually cursing throughout a conversation. Not that I haven’t used those words myself, but I still remember when I decided there was no purpose in trying to guard my words around some people and not others. It just became easier to keep it all clean. Besides, the cuss words rarely ever fit into the sentence. I once heard it said, “Cuss words are those words people use because they aren’t smart enough to find a word that actually fits!”
One lesson I have learned in life about cracking jokes or making fun of people is this, there is always a victim. No, I’m not going to play the victim card here. I believe it is healthy to laugh at yourself and yes there are moments we should enjoy laughing at situations and others. If you can’t do that, then life is probably too serious for you. I also believe that you probably shouldn’t dish it out if you can’t take it. Finally, I know what may be funny in one moment can often cause pain in another. I have seen too many friendships destroyed because of a common joke that may have been acceptable hundreds of times before, but the day will come when it just downright hurts.
Humor brings us joy and laughter and it really is laughter that is medicine to our soul. But laughing at the expense of others can be costly. The heart behind the laughter is what determines if it will sting or smooth the spirit. Mean-spirited jokes and laughter are usually dealt with bitter intentions, while a hearty laugh often comes from that awkward moment shared with a loved one.
Tread softly when trying to be funny. Consider the cost of the joke you are about to tell and thoughtfully determine if the funny story is worth the price before completely embarrassing someone else. Is it worth it? Do all things in love and you will avoid many of the pitfalls of humor. Laugh at yourself and your own blunders in life and then use them to motivate others. Otherwise, you might find you have offended enough people with your scorpion-like approach of comedy and your knock-knock jokes have become a lonely conversation with yourself.
“Laugh until it hurts, but don’t hurt others for a laugh.”