Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Shawwal 6, 1445 H
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If we couldn’t laugh, we would cry

The British appear to have an inexhaustible supply of genuinely funny shows and performers
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There’s nothing quite as much fun as a bit of comedy is there? You don’t need to wash it, dry it, or keep it clean. You don’t have to cook for it, feed it, or worry about whether it’s a vegetarian, or got a nut allergy. It doesn’t need to be kept in a garage, to be insured, to get its oil changed. It certainly doesn’t need driving or filling with petrol, and you don’t need to argue which is the best with your neighbours. And finally, it’s more like paydays, or ‘days off,’ than workdays, because you just can’t ‘do’ humour all the time... it’s not part of our nature... but it should be compulsory.

Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the rejuvenating aspects of comedy and laughter, ironically, most often at a time of great sadness, to help us get through those times that can threaten to destabilise us, by questioning why those nearest and dearest, those youngest, those most fragile, most loved, are taken from us. Some men in white coats – yes, them again – say that we laugh in times of loss because we need the endorphin rush to cope with the grief. In fact, people say such nice things about us at funerals and wakes, it’s a shame we must our own.

I watch some comedy series, and apart from the Third Rock from the Sun, The Big Bang Theory, and Friends, I haven’t been able to ‘get into’ American comedy very much at all. There have certainly been some laudable attempts, but they appear to have a fundamental need to include social issues as a key element of the plot. The Simpsons did this well, but maybe I have difficulty with, even in caricature, ugly, or ‘unpretty’ folk are ridiculed. The ‘sight,’ or visual gag seems ever present, and a bit cringeworthy.

On the other hand, the British appear to have an inexhaustible supply of genuinely funny shows and performers. Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the Blackadder Series (plural), Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses, The Two Ronnies, Father Ted, oh look, this catalogue could go on forever. Meanwhile, among the ‘Stand Up Comedians,’ those who perform live, Peter Kay, Michael MacIntyre, Billy Connolly, and their ilk, are just amazing, and who could ever forget the pioneers of the film genre, like Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and the likes.

The greatest wrought ever inflicted upon continuously trusting, and consistently duped societies. It’s an absolute tragedy that young people are made to scrimp, scratch, and save, to go without many of the ‘good things in life’ while they save up for a house deposit that they calculate will get them into a place of their own, and they can afford. Only to find out a few years later the interest rates have risen so much that they are now financially stressed. This isn’t comedy... it’s tragedy.

Worst of all, in so many things, our youthful generations are being sold a vision for their future that is clearly not fitting its description, with all the various consumer protection organisations seemingly powerless to stop this cynical manipulation of what has the potential to be a ‘golden generation,’ to draw back, or rein in, those who could never spend all they have in a hundred lifetimes. It’s nothing to laugh about... it’s no comedy... and we shouldn’t just say... “oh well...”

Last week, former F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, pleaded guilty to failing to declare £529million to the tax man, his punishment... 17 months in prison, suspended for two years, and a £652 million civil settlement to that taxman, which will just disappear into the UK Government trough. Ecclestone must now ‘survive’ on the mere £2 billion he has left. And we are to think our societies are built on justice? That is a laugh!

If it was you or I, for a few rials, dollars, dirhams, or pounds, we would be hounded, jailed, and probably never see the light of day again. And that, my friends is no laughing matter, but if we didn’t laugh...

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