I’m a classically trained comedian and I guarantee I can make you laugh. But the world of comedy has become so fragmented to cater to highly specific individual tastes, and so fraught with cultural sensitivities and taboos that before I make you laugh, I need to know a few things about what you find funny.
Are you a fan of lowbrow humor, like a dog being startled awake by his own fart, falling off the couch and knocking over a beer on his head? Or are you more into political humor, like Trump being startled awake by his own fart, falling off the couch, and knocking over a Diet Coke on his head? I can go a lot of different directions with the dog-fart scenario. Your call.
Do you like pop culture references? I can do those, but of course I need to know your age so I can make sure to hit the right generational touchstones. Are you a baby boomer who’ll cackle with relief at the mere mention of some long-forgotten B-movie actress like Mamie Van Doren or Pia Zadora because I’m acknowledging the reality of your distant adolescence even as it fades deeper into obscurity and irrelevance? Or are you a Millennial who will coo with approval if I name-drop some top-40 songstress whose Swedish-engineered music is so banal and disposable that any self-respecting cultural consumer would jab out their eardrums before sullying them with a single artificially sweetened vocal hook?
I can work it either way.
I can work clean, dirty or PG-13. PG-13 means I’ll only allude to copulation in the context of crudely Photoshopped Tumblr memes depicting cartoon characters engaged in graphic fetish sex.
Are you into inside jokes, like the time Ronnie had to go back and tell the waitress an elk stole his jacket because the dentist couldn’t drive the bulldozer? No? I guess you really did have to be there.
Or are you a fan of the subtle, dry, English form of irony? You rather would be, wouldn’t you? Innit? Quite.
Or perhaps you just wanna go with “dealer’s choice” and give me free rein to work my magic. In that case I’d share an amusing story from my own life, one that stitches together the personal and the universal, binding us with an awareness of our shared humanity, our faces lit with the warm glow of a good, hearty chuckle. I can do that too, no problem.
But I’ll probably go with the dog-fart bit. It’s gold.