Yesterday I was talking about people who don’t get the humor in movies or theatre. It starts young, I guess. Jac and I were in a restaurant in northern Wisconsin and a family came in and sat next to us. So I told them my duck joke: ‘A duck goes into a restaurant and hops up on the table. The waitress tries to shoo it away, but it turns out the duck can talk: it says, “I’d like a glass of swampwater and a raw fish, please.” The waitress is stunned, of course, to find a talking duck, but she rallies and says, “Yeah, right. You’re a duck. How do you plan to pay for this? Cash?” The duck says, “Nah. Just put it on my bill.”
Well, the parents were convulsed, laughing out loud and groaning. Their kid just stared at me as if I’d told him that his grandmother had died. They tried to explain, but it was clear that the 10 year old kid didn’t get the joke. Didn’t think it was funny, didn’t know that ducks could talk, etc.
Oh brother. So, J and I went to see the Coen Brothers ridiculous comedy, Irreconcilable Differences, with George Clooney and the exquisite Catherine Zeta Jones. It’s a black comedy about divorce, and Clooney has a great scene where he addresses a convention of divorce lawyers, like something out of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. We, and the people sitting near us, laughed a lot. As I was leaving the theatre, I was chuckling in the lobby with several of the other patrons, and an older woman walked up to the group and excoriated us for laughing, to the effect of “How dare you laugh at things that are not funny!!!”
So I guess I’m getting used to it. I remember one time when I directed The Odd Couple at the old Forest View High School, and while I ‘ve had a lot of productions that got laughs, this one was special. So I’m standing at the back of the theatre, watching, enjoying the audience. We were performing at the same time as the Super Bowl, unfortunately, but the audience was having a great time. Except for one man, who sat on the aisle with a huge portable radio held up to his ear, listening to the game. This wasn’t a small transistor, either: It was a twenty pound ghetto blaster. (Sigh). He held that thing to his ear for the whole show.
Remind me to tell you about the time I had a parent crawl up on the stage to take pictures of his kid who was performing in a dance number. No kidding. This was a professional outfit too, with flash, extenders, all that. He was offended when we told him he couldn’t take pictures.
Heavenly days. Have a good rest of this one.