by Mitch Powers
The most important part of comedy is timing. This is the golden rule in the history of trying to make people laugh. For me, this statement holds its own set of problems. I try to be funny all of the time. This isn’t a revelation I came to in some great flash of genius, but rather it was drilled into my skull by my family and peers. I lack the ability to be serious –or so I’ve been told.
I haven’t always been funny. Actually, as a young child I was really quite terrible. I’m glad I have an awful memory so I can’t remember myself as the selfish brat I was. It got so bad my parents had to stage an intervention. Sadly my intervention didn’t get its own reality show, but it was effective. I began realizing that family members could actually be enjoyable if you treated them nicely. It was about at this time that I realized how much I liked making people laugh. At first I wasn’t good at it, sometimes telling jokes meant for a locker room to my grandparents at dinner, but I slowly developed my sense of humor into something more sophisticated.
I began looking for humor in everything. From strangers on the street to bumper stickers, I was looking for something to make my day a little brighter. For better or worse, my day-brightening techniques rolled over into the rest of my life. I liked to share the funny things I saw, and since I saw a lot of things I found funny, I did a lot of sharing. To many close to me, this was not a good thing. My constant observations were taken as unpleasant outbursts. Criticism aside, I continued in my observational improvisation, becoming ever more mindful of the minor parts of my day and their hidden humors.
Even though my sense of humor has often got me into trouble, it has done less harm than good. A sense of humor is so critically important, especially in the world of journalism. Humor interests people, it catches their attention. It is my goal to use humor to expose people to things they might never have experienced. I learned that being able to laugh is a huge part of life, so please don’t tell me to stop, because I don’t plan on listening.