It’s Good For A Laugh

I was invited to dinner this evening at the home of two close friends.  As we ate, one friend told us about his recent visit with his grandmother, and how they were watching comedy DVDs.

As I listened to his stories, I was struck by how he (late twenties) and his grandmother (mid seventies) were both laughing so hard they were literally crying.    And they were laughing at the same thing.

 The funny stuff that had them (his words )about peeing in their pants was the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts.   These apparently ran on tv from 1974-1984.

 I don’t remember this show, but when he pulled out the DVDs, I recognized almost everybody who was funny on tv from when I was a kid.   These comedic geniuses would step up to the podium and crack jokes at the others’ expense. 

 That photo on the left is of Dean Martin and Don Rickles from one of the roasts.  The photo came from a DVD review page here.Laugh Martin Rickles

I could literally go down the line of people sitting at the table  in the video, and I know I’ve laughed at every one.  Many were from the old comedy tv show Laugh In. And tonight as I watched, I was laughing out loud. Their timing and their takes on things are  as funny today as they were back then.

 Okay, I’m gonna admit this right here in front of God and everybody. When I was a very little girl, I thought The Three Stooges was funny.  I rushed home from school to turn on the TV to watch a half hour of Three Stooges episodes every day.Laugh Three Stooges Wiki

Now?  Well…I don’t think they’re very funny at all.  The slapstick eye pokes and head smacks just don’t do it for me. My husband, though, still laughs just as hard as he ever did.  Hmm…maybe it’s a gender thing.

But aside from Larry, Curly and Moe, it’s interesting to me that a good bit of that comedy from my childhood is still as funny as it ever was.

There is one thing about me that never seems to change.  In particular, I love a good stand-up routine.

I’ve been to only one live stand-up comedy show in my lifetime, but I indulge via DVD and online a LOT.  My goal for the past two years has included “laugh every day at something.”  If I don’t find anything to laugh at over the course of the day, in the evening I pull up Comedy Central on the computer, and find something funny.

 At least, I try to find something funny.

The unfortunate thing is that these days I’m having to sort through a lot of “comedy” to get a really good laugh. Some evenings I wade through a number of routines without ever cracking a smile.  I want to.  It’s just not really very funny.

It could be my age, but I hope it’s not that. 

I’m not even a little bit of a prude, and most comics I know step on all kinds of toes and talk about the stuff you “shouldn’t” talk about.  Part of what makes them funny is that they’ll say what we’d all like to say but can’t.  

Still, when a comic relies solely on the vulgar or the disgusting to get laughs, well….that’s good for a little while, but after a bit I start to wonder if this person can actually BE funny without that stuff.

Laugh I love lucy logo wiki Beyond that, really outstanding comedy acts poke fun at everyone from every race, and every political position, without ever making their own positions obvious. Because they literally DO make fun of everyone.  Lately when I see a comedy routine, within a few minutes it’s obvious that the “funny person” has a strong political bias one way or the other.  That’s the opposite of why I watch.  I want to get away from that stuff.

 The funniest people I’ve ever laughed at—they didn’t do that.  I don’t think they needed it.  Who can forget Lucille Ball and her Vitameatavegamin routine?  She’s trying out for a job reading a television commercial, and the product (if I remember right) is about 80 proof.

 

Then there’s Carole Burnett in Went With The Wind, her ridiculous comedy spoof of the Gone With The Wind drama.

Together with Harvey Korman and Tim Conway,  Burnett made generations of people scream with laughter, and it’s still just as funny.  Almost. Forty. Years. Later.

 

 So….. I’m looking for funny.  Laugh out loud, spew your coffee on the monitor, snork-and-get-strangled funny.

Do y’all know Jeff Dunham? 

He’s a standby for me. He and his ventriloquist dummies are old fashioned, but they’re modern Dunham and Peanut2humor.  Pure comic genius. 

If you want a taste of it, you can find video of some of his most famous routines at JeffDunham.com.

 I’ve listened to a fair bit of Jeff Foxworthy, and the man is always good for a laugh.

 I wince a little as I admit that I also like James Gregory, because a lot of his redneck humor is so, so, so wrong. But I come from that same “country raisin'” and I laugh almost every time.   As asinine as his take on things is, he’s Just. Plain. Funny.

Ellen DeGeneres is one of my absolute favorites.  I get to see her on tv sometimes at the gym, and I think she’s one of the most outstanding comic geniuses of our time.  She is my favorite comedienne.

Unfortunately, I’ve been through most of the  comedy I can find from my favorite people. 

 So I’m coming to you, Bandits and Buddies.

When you need a good belly laugh, where do you look?

Do you like stand-up comedy? Any favorite acts?Laughs crusie getting rid of bradley

What about funny movies?  Any to recommend?

And do you ever read romantic comedy?  I could never write that, but I surely do like to read it.

 Some of the early Jennifer Crusie novels stay on my keeper shelf through cleaning after cleaning just because they make me laugh.  

When I want deep emotion interspersed with outrageously funny moments, Bandita Susan Sey fits the bill now.

What other author makes you laugh at the same time you’re getting your romance fix?

I’m looking for recommendations—where do you go when you’re looking for a really good laugh?

Three Stooges photo and I Love Lucy logo from Wikipedia.  Promotional photo of Jeff Dunham and Peanut from JeffDunham.com

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Comments

35 Comments

  • Jane says:

    I do like stand up comedy and my favorites include Chris Rock, Margaret Cho and Denis Leary. Love raunchy comedies like The Hangover, Old School and Porky’s. Whenever I’m in the mood to read a romantic comedy I reach for Jill Shalvis or Susan Donovan.

    • Jane, ask the rooster to tell you a joke. He knows a good one about a chicken and a road that will you in stitches! Happy Easter!

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Jane,

      I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve never seen Porky’s.

      My favorite comedy actress is Goldie Hawn–also of the Laugh In era. And I go to Overboard or one of her other many films for laughs.

      I will have to look up Margaret Cho now. I’m always interested in trying new funny people. Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Amy Conley says:

    George Wallace, the co m edian is one of hubby’s favs. We got to see him live, in Vegas and hubby was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to have a second heart attack ( he’d just had his first). Also Walt Wiley, Jackson from ALL MY CHILLDREN, is hilarious. Billy Crystal’s one man show, 700 SUNDAYS is on HBO this month and I’ve always loved him.
    But give me the oldies almost anyday. Oh and let’s not leave out Richard Pryor’s first stand up movie or Robin William’s first HBO zspecial circa 1983.

    • Cassondra says:

      Wow Amy, there are two names here I’ve never heard of. George Wallace and Walt Wiley.

      I’m definitely going to look these up. I love Billy Crystal, and yes, the old Richard Pryor was serious laughs. Robin Williams was hurt-yourself funny when he was young. I haven’t heard anything by him in years. I’m going to have to go looking now.

      • Amy Conley says:

        Oh, and if you want to read funny, southern women write some of the funniest books ever. Mary Kay Andrews is a must read, laugh out loud author and the last book I read was CONFESSIONS OF A CRACKED SOUTHERN BELLE by Susan Rinehart ( I hope I spelled her last name correctly). This is a book every woman should read. Susan also until recently had her own colom in the Asheville, NC paper and did 3 or 4 books based on her stories from the paper, all true, and most all of them happened to her or because of her.

  • Helen says:

    Cassondra

    My favourite is Lucille Ball she is always make me laugh 🙂 I have a lot of favourite movies from her and also Paleface with Bob Hope in it will have me in stitches I have not seen a lot of stand up comedy and I have read a lot of stories that make me laugh one of the latest one that I have read is Christina Brooke’s London’s Last True Scoundrel that one had me laughing so much I had tears rolling down my face 🙂

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Cassondra says:

      Ooooo…Helen I haven’t seen Paleface. Okay now I have to see if I can find that one.

      And Christina did a great job with that book, didn’t she? The two personalities did make for some lough-out-loud moments for certain!

  • Cassondra, what a fun post. I’ve never really got Lucille Ball – I wonder if it’s a cultural thing. I did on the other hand laugh like a drain at the Gone with the Wind spoof. Poor Melody with her head in the punch bowl!

    My tastes have changed since I was a kid. When I was in primary school, I remember killing myself laughing over Jerry Lewis but as I grew up, he just seemed loud and silly.

    We get quite a lot of British comedy here and I must say a lot of that tickles my fancy. There’s a couple of panel shows where clever people get to be witty – Would I Lie to You? and QI spring to mind as favorites. Anna S will know what I mean. But that’s more ad lib than scripted and the more ad lib they get, the funnier they are.

    I hate to say it but I often laugh like a drain at the funny cat pics on the Internet. Clearly there’s no hope for me!

    • Cassondra says:

      Oh Anna, I think there’s every hope for you! I laugh at almost all of those things. The cat pictures are always good for a quick pick-me-up.

      And I am crazy for Monty Python and loved the old Second City TV–came on very late at night here after I was married. Steve and I would stay up to watch it.

      I’d love love LOVE to get episodes of those panel shows. And yes, the ad lib bits are often the funniest and best.

      Did you ever get the “Whose Line Is It Anyway” shows with Drew Carey in Australia. It was a bit like that. Four or five funny people, all making up stuff as they went along. You better not be eating or drinking when the show came on!

      Interesting that you don’t get Lucille Ball. I’d have thought the opposite but it very well may be cultural. Which I think is fascinating.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I recently started reading the Heller series by JD Nixon. I was laughing out loud at some of Matilda’ s antics. Granted it isn’t all fun and games. There are plenty of serious, even heart wrenching moments, but I thoroughly enjoyed them. Then there is Emma Chase’ s Tangled and Alice Clayton’ s Wallbanger. For TV, I much prefer the old comedies for a good laugh. Nowadays, if it isn’t vulgar or filled with sexual innuendos then it supposedly isn’t funny. Give me I Love Lucy, Andy Griffeth, Carol Burnett, and yes, I remember all the Dean Martin roasts. One of my favorites though was Laverne and Shirley. They made me laugh, made me cry with some of their escapades. And of course, their zany neighbors Lenny and Squiggy. Next to them, there was Steve Urkel and Larry and Balki in Perfect Strangers. Now that, folks, was comedy.

    • Cassondra says:

      OH, Debbie, I had completely forgotten Laverne and Shirley. I loved that show! I forgot to mention Dick Van Dyke in my blog, but he was always one of my absolute favorites. And OMG Andy Griffith! As the straight man to Barney Fife and Gomer, that was genius, wasn’t it?

      Now I’m going to have to look up Tangled and Wallbanger. You’ve got me interested.

  • Shannon says:

    I find I like gentle humor. Garrison Keeler. The BBC series Waiting for God and Time Goes Bye. Adored Carol Burnett and the Gone with the Wind sketch.

    • Cassondra says:

      Shannon I used to be SUCH a huge fan of Garrison Keeler, but I lost interest a few years back. I hate it when that happens. I need to look him up again.

      And I love the classification, Gentle Humor. I am often in the mood for exactly that.

  • Deb says:

    “I Love Lucy” was funny, and I enjoy watching those old shows. I remember watching “The Dick Van Dyke Show” when I was little. “Oh, Rob!” Laura always seemed to cry. 🙂 My mother and I loved watching Carol Burnett and often laughed so hard we cried. My dad couldn’t stand the show and you could often tell through his grunts and flicking his newspaper, ha! I remember watching some of the Dean Martin Roasts, but didn’t quite understand all the humor since I was just a kid.
    Jeff Dunham is funny, if sometimes a little too “colorful” for my tastes. Jeff Foxworthy is funny.
    My fave scene from “I Love Lucy” is the chocolate factory. Funny!

    • Cassondra says:

      Ah, Deb, I’d forgotten about the chocolate factory! Her brand of timing and expressions when she got caught in a bad situation was absolute gold!

      I can’t believe your dad didn’t like that show. Did he not like comedy as a rule or just not her brand of humor?

      Love the whole “snapping his newspaper and grunting” routine. That’s funny in itself, as you describe it.

      • Deb says:

        Dad just didn’t like Carol Burnett’s humor, I guess.

        I thought of another comedy routine that is funny—Abbott and Costello’s Who’s On First. Of course, can’t leave out Bob Hope or Jack Benny. I loved watching those old shows and movies reruns when I was a girl.

  • catslady says:

    I grew up with those old-time comics and loved them (Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Dom Delouise and Bill Cosby are some more favorites). Today my favorite comedy show is The Big Bang. My husband hates shows that have laugh tracks which eliminate a lot. I loved George Carlin . Swearing doesn’t bother me if it has a point. A lot of comedy shows are based on sex now and that’s okay if its done correctly. I like all the political comics too. I must admit I don’t usually read funny books but every once in a while I enjoy one. Someone like Jill Shalvis is always good for some laughs.

    • Cassondra says:

      Catslady, Shalvis is one of my favorite authors, as y’all know since I talk about her on the blog a lot.

      I don’t remember Red Skelton or Jack Benny much, but Bill Cosby was at his peak when I was growing up. Even on Saturday mornings there was Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids One of the best cartoon dramas of that day.

      Cosby is one of the all time greats in my book.

  • I remember the “treat” at the end of the school year was listening to a Bill Cosby record in study hall (What a cubic?) I’d heard it so many times, but laughed like it was new. Loved Lucille Ball and Dick Van Dyke growing up. Barney Miller in the old Andy Griffith show was priceless. Nowadays I watch Big Bang Theory and reruns of old favorite movies for the laughs. Loved Jenny Crusie’s Getting Rid of Bradley. I once bumped into the back end of a car reading that book while waiting for the light to turn green. Can’t do that anymore 🙂

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      OOOO…Donna, I hope there wasn’t any damage from the car bump!

      I love that book too. I love it when the hero brings her dogs. I love it how he “gets” her. And I laughed every time they said, “dead dog!” and the dog rolled over and played dead.

  • Cassondra,

    I have a problem with most modern comedy movies. I tend to watch them with my head tilted sideways, like that’s going to make it funnier or make more sense to me.

    I, too, love the old comics and I’ve seen most of the Dean Martin roasts when I was a teen. Loved them. And to this day if there’s a Carol Burnett episode on as I flip channels I stop and watch, laughing out loud.

    Have you ever caught Rita Rudner’s routines from the 90’s? Sweet, unlitered with curse words, perfect timing. She makes me laugh!

    Then there’s Jeanne Robertson…so funny and truly does sound like my Mom and some of her friends… http://youtu.be/-YFRUSTiFUs

    And of course I tend to like Ron White’s Tater Salad routine!

    Then Susan Sey had me laughing with tears rolling down my eyes with her last post and the peacock dropping in for a photo bomb with her inlaws!!! Still laughing at that!

  • Becke says:

    Cassonda,
    I remember Dean Martin’s roasts, Laugh In,
    James Gregory’s southern humor is funny. I also thought Larry the Cable Guy was funny. The only thing is it’s hard for them to stay fresh. Many go to foul language. Good comedy doesn’t require it. I liked Hugh Grant romantic comedies. I don’t like slapstick so I didn’t care for the 3 Stooges. To me, they seemed mean. I liked the Little Rascals. I liked Red Skelton as Crazy Googenhiemen (sp) The Beverly Hillbillies were fun in the beginning. I Dream of Jennie, Bewitched. Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, McLintock, The Cheyenne Social Club. Love Actually.
    LOL
    b

    Authors: Jennie Cruisie, Kristen Higgins and Stephanie Bond of Love and Laughter days.

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Becke, I’ve read some Kristan Higgens, but I haven’t hit her funny stuff, apparently, though I have to say that everything I’ve read of hers has had an “edge” to it that I think just might make some people laugh. The situations she sets up hang on an edge between funny and so ludicrous they’re almost awful. (I’m thinking of the one wehre the very rich young lady’s father lost all their money and she ended up with the dad’s attorney, whom she called “Thing One.”

      I completely left out the old tv shows. I absolutely loved Bewitched.

  • Annie West says:

    Cassondra, here our family favourite for a laugh is ‘Would I Lie to You’ with ‘QI’ not too far behind it. The humour in those spans generations (we’ve had 21 year olds and 80 something year olds enjoying them). When the participants are on form they’re amazing. I used to love some of the British charity comedy performances too and have vague memories of ‘The Secret Policeman’s Ball’ and ‘The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball’ in a cinema full of people laughing so hard they cried.

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Annie, I’m now totally interested in Would I Lie To You and QI. Anna mentioned those early in the day, and I haven’t had time to look online, but I”m hoping I’ll find some of it for a sample.

      I love those ad lib shows. Proof of genius righ there, because when they’re rolling with it and it’s working, nothing is funnier.

  • Cassondra, what a fun post! I remember those Dean Martin roasts, but I wasn’t allowed to watch them because my mom didn’t like them.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a standup routine, but I’d like to. As for funny movies, we enjoyed Music & Lyrics. I do read romcom and love Susan Sey’s voice.

    Dee Davis’s A Match Made on Madison was hilarious. Kathleen O’Reilly has also made me laugh out loud.

    And it’s not romance, but T.R. Pearson’s debut novel, A Short History of a Small Place was just freaking hysterical. I didn’t like the next two books as well, but I love that one. It’s very southern, though, so anyone who isn’t familiar with southern conversational detours might find it off-putting.

    Our family takes Bill Cosby CDs on car trips so we don’t have to hunt for radio stations. We all think he’s hilarious.

  • Mozette says:

    When you need a good belly laugh, where do you look?

    I love a good laugh at most things. Living alone, I find that depression can find me at the worst of times; so I need a good laugh when I can get it. Old re-runs of Happy Days is a good place to start, or I’ll watch Leverne & Shirley… good old slap-stick there. 😀

    Do you like stand-up comedy? Any favorite acts?Laughs crusie getting rid of bradley

    Robin Williams… this is one man who can make me laugh because he’s a grown man who can tap into his childhood in a minute. Bill Cosby in his hey day was great! I have a few vinyls of his… and if you really want to be amazed – and have a laugh too – Google some Wes Harrison. This man was great in his time; such a pity he died so early in his career.

    What about funny movies? Any to recommend?

    50 First Dates, Love Actually, A Knight’s Tale… there’s some great funny 90’s movies I love. The Breakfast Club, 16 Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… The Coneheads… Ghostbusters… just good, funny movies where the messier it was, the funnier it was. 😀

    And do you ever read romantic comedy? I could never write that, but I surely do like to read it.

    Oh yeah… Lynsay Sands writes some funny romance; vampire romance which is hilarious… 😀

    Some of the early Jennifer Crusie novels stay on my keeper shelf through cleaning after cleaning just because they make me laugh.

    When I want deep emotion interspersed with outrageously funny moments, Bandita Susan Sey fits the bill now.

    What other author makes you laugh at the same time you’re getting your romance fix?

    I mentioned Bill Cosby before, well, he wrote some books too… funny stuff. Really funny stuff. I inherited my Pop’s Bill Cosby books when he passed away; and still have them for a good laugh when I need a pick-up.

    I’m looking for recommendations—where do you go when you’re looking for a really good laugh?

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Mozette, I didn’t know Bill Cosby wrote books!

      I’ll have to look for those.

      And Wes Harrison….I’m making a note to look for his comedy.

      I love all these recommendations!

      • Mozette says:

        http://youtu.be/Zb3spEq05Pw

        Now… you’ll wonder how this guy did this stuff with just a microphone or two and his voice box.

        However, it’s saying on his website that he’s alive and kicking, but from what I’ve heard around the traps, he passed away. :/

  • My favorite I Love Lucy has to be the one at the chocolate factory. I laugh every time I see it! And I have DVD’s of the series Mama’s Family – it was a spin off from the Carol Burnett show. When I want a good laugh I watch those. I also have DVD’s of Designing Women that make me howl with laughter. “Suzanne, if sex was fast food there’d be a golden arch over your bed.”

    I have Bill Cosby on DVD and when he talks about people going out and getting drunk and having a good time I almost fall off my chair laughing.

    I have a couple of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour DVD’s and they are a hoot!

    There are two British comedies that never fail to crack me up. I have several seasons of these two on DVD – Keeping Up Appearances and Are You Being Served?

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Louisa, I’ve seen several of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour routines.

      I’ve never heard of Keeping Up Appearances or Are You Being Served?

      Okay more to add to the list.

      Isn’t it a statement to Cosby’s career that he’s been mentioned in so many of the comments? The man is a legend.