Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Shawwal 6, 1445 H
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Sometimes, you just gotta laugh

Watching a film, television, or a sports event, most of us, in that moment feel the child we once were, or show the child we once were, and in either case, it’s got to be good for us

We all need to laugh! Sometimes at ourselves, sometimes at others. Watching a film, television, or a sports event, most of us, in that moment feel the child we once were, or show the child we once were, and in either case, it’s got to be good for us.

Whether it’s a proper belly laugh, or a bit of a snigger, as long as nobody is irreparably damaged, I’m alright with comedy and laughter, and recall for much of my life being enthralled by the Reader’s Digest, ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’ pages, and learning to appreciate the value of humour, with subtlety, innuendo, double entendre, and word play intellectually and linguistically enthralling.

I mean whoever, once seen, could ever forget Ronnie Barker’s star turn as the stuttering corner shop proprietor Arkwright, in ‘Open All Hours’ with the inimitable David Jason, and you will never stop chuckling, while alongside Ronnie Corbett with their fork handle (four candle) sketch, their Lindsay Doyle (linseed oil) name-droppers, and a hilarious take-off of Mastermind, you will not only remember what laughter is, but all that ails you will be cured.

It’s also a fact that while both sides of the Atlantic covet the English language, America and the United Kingdom see it very differently, with trainers/sneakers, jumpers/sweaters, full-stops/periods, biscuits/cookies, flats/apartments, holiday/vacation, being just a few of the amusing differences.

However it ramps up when another Brit comic, Michael McIntyre, noticed how literal the American adaptations are, that a pavement is called a sidewalk, “because they needed to know where to walk,” that spectacles are known as eyeglasses, “presumably so they know where to put them,” squash is racketball across the water, a rubbish bin is a wastepaper basket, and... do we need to explain the difference between horse riding, and ‘horseback’ riding? You can see his point I think.

America has produced one of the most popular comedies ever in ‘Friends,’ “I’ll be there for you,” but it is one of the few to have ever successfully crossed the water and achieve critical acclaim there. Frazier, MASH, The Simpsons, West Park, Cheers, Married with Children, The Big Bang Theory, and Third Rock From the Sun have had their devotees in the UK, but Brits tend to find them too ‘signposted,’ too ‘obvious’ and ‘slapstick,’ to be appealing to their tastes.

I’m not sure where Omanis fit in a comedic spectrum, though I have observed an enthusiasm for ‘sight gags,’ slapstick, and belly laughs, I’m pretty sure much of what amuses me always seemed to also amuse my students. Stand-up comedy is something you either love or hate, as it needs you to be quite ‘quick’ and unrestrained. It probably also helps to not have any inhibitions as stand up does often run ‘close to the bone.’ Screened, situation comedies, work towards crises we can see coming, or think we can, but offer the chance for topical laughs, and all in all, have the noble aim of making us at least smile, and hopefully laugh.

What kind of comedy is this though? “Brown is all colours mixed together. All books have 26 letters. Music is just vibrations. Happiness is just a chemical release... and, it costs 11.2 cents to make a nickel, which is only worth ten cents,” maybe more irony than comedy, but amusing all the same. I did smile too at the flippant prayer asking for “the coffee to change the things I can, and the wine to accept the things I cannot.” What about ‘Why don’t pirates have a shower before they walk the plank? Because they was up on shore.’ Or maybe the mother who told her child to “stop annoying her, and go and play outside...” forgetting she was on an airplane. If you get a message about canned meat... don’t open it... It’ll be spam! Or one of the best maybe... Why can’t you hear a psychiatrist go to the toilet? Because the ‘p’ is silent. He he he.

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