Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo recalls a dinnertime debate from his misspent yoot provoked by teh Old Gentleman’s  pronouncement regarding the foundation of humor.*  Dad’s position was that all humor is based on making fun of the misfortune of others.**  In essence, Schadenfreude.

Ol’ Robbo’s instinctive reaction then, as it still is, was that this is wrong. Or at least incomplete.  Schadenfreude certainly is a type of humor, but surely*** it can’t be the basis of all humor.  One of these days, I’ll do the leg-work to prove my gut reaction.

One of these days.

I bring this up by way of prelude to my own assertion about comedy:  There is nothing, nothing, funnier than watching somebody else try not to laugh.  But does this only prove the Old Gentleman’s point?  Is our mirth based solely a malignant pleasure in that other person’s failure to contain theirs?  Or is it more a sympathetic upwelling?

I dunno.

In any event, when Ol’ Robbo is Emperor of the World, one of his first decrees will be that all movie DVD’s will be required to include outtake and blooper-reel menu options.  I can get through a whole feature merely somewhat entertained, only to find myself rolling on the floor in helpless paroxysms while watching the flubs, blubs, and general collapses into hysteria as things get out of hand in the bits that were left out.****

Most satisfying.


* We had family dinner debates virtually every night, debates that, between the flow of the needful and strong personalities, almost inevitably became rayther sporty.  Over the years, this became a matter of course to us, but it often horrified the young people my siblings and I brought home:  Why Mrs. Robbo and my sister-in-law didn’t run screaming into the night remains one of the great mysteries.

** I still don’t know if the Old Boy really believed this.  Sometimes he would posit genuinely-held positions, sometimes I think he was just trying to spike us out of divilment.  You never knew which was which.  And he wasn’t telling.

*** Don’t call me “Shirley”.

**** I experienced this once in person, too.  I’ve posted before about a collegiate production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream I was in.  In one rehearsal, we tried to do a walk-through with the understudies.  It proved a total disaster, given some of the tricky physical humor.  After a short time, we found ourselves staggering across the stage helpless with laughter.  The whole thing culminated with my counterpart collapsing on me and breaking one of my toes.  Good times.