Sunday, July 10, 2011

Debbie Downer’s Guide to Comedy, v. 1.0

By Brenda Purvis

There have only been a handful of times in my life in which I have been funny. My best friend Rachael can specifically identify three of those times. The third was about nine months ago when I somehow laughed her to tears in a taxicab on the way to a Portland nightclub. I was going on about Izzy’s Buffet Restaurant or something as equally unfunny; it’s slightly unfortunate to think that of the 4 ½ years I’ve known her I’m only up to three laugh out loud moments. My current average is Funny < once per year. A ratio like that might launch me into some kind of depressing Hall of Fame. (If you’re interested in knowing what the other two occasions were, she might dig out her secret public journal she keeps on me for them. A person’s got to have some unfunny proof to reach my level of achievement.)

So last night as I lay awake in bed pondering how many employees/patients would call out over the ¼” of snow that lay on the ground, I thought that I might share my gift with others who are less fortunate than I in the funny department. Though I can kill a mood in 2.3 seconds flat and my comedic timing is as accurate as the jury that didn’t convict O.J., I know funny when I see/hear it! So this is my “Debbie Downer’s Guide to Comedy, v. 1.0” to share with the world a few things that I undoubtedly know to be funny – no matter who you are. (Except Bristol Palin; she doesn’t know funny. I don’t know why I said that; I just really wanted to use a Bristol drop.)

Joke Formula #1: “Are you there blank? It’s me, blank.”

This has landed me a successful ratio of laughs, typically 3/5 people. 60% of the time it works every time, by which I mean that after the first thirty seconds it turns into 4 out of 5 people laughing, maybe from peer pressure and maybe because my humor is so complex it takes extra brain cells to compute.

Examples: Are you there Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea. Are you there Heisman? It’s me, Reggie. Are you there God? It’s me, Derek Zoolander.

This joke is especially funny for women who were tricked into reading “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” because naturally when you bleed from your cooter for the first time God is the best place to seek advice. He definitely knows what you’re going through. To turn this into a usable equation this joke consists of a prayer into the universe to an inanimate object or unobtainable figure to whom a human figure or recognizable character seeks advice or guidance from. The essential reasons that this joke is funny is because it uses religion (always laughable) and it utilizes the listener’s background knowledge of the characters and their situations thus decreasing the joke’s telling time, thus decreasing my chance to ruin it.

4:00 A.M. delirium side note: I identify with what Jack Black said in “Orange County:” “I got so many ideas burnin’ through my skull.” I want to get that tattooed on my wrist like Lindsay Lohan has “Breathe” on her right wrist and “Ayo for Yayo” on her left. They’re our mantras and, like Lindsay, I want to be reminded of mine every day, though my good intentions may be inhibited when it takes a magnifying glass to read mine. (Sorry for this tangent; I wanted to do a Lindsay drop too.)

Joke Formula #2: Talking with your front-butt is the new talking with your butt. Saying front-butt is the new black.

I was just recently introduced to this concept, fell in love with it, and can’t wait to use it though I’m really having some trouble deciding when and where most appropriate to unveil it. I guess this is as good a platform as any. Remember when Jim Carrey turns around and bends over in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and spreads and compresses his nether-cheeks as he speaks? “I’d like to ass you a few questions” I believe is the quote. Recently my coworker Christie graciously shared with me a story her husband brought home from work. Luckily his work is the Eugene jail and luckily he witnessed a new female inmate respond to an officer by mimicking Carrey’s ‘90’s genius and putting her own 2010 female twist on it. Unluckily I can’t remember what she said as she attempted to spread and compress her beaver-lips through her acid wash jeans – though I doubt any of you are very disappointed. (It might be best that I don’t remember, mostly since this inmate was not clinically ill, which leads me to believe I may get to interact with said individual if my personal “issues” don’t go so well in the near future. ‘Nuff said.)

Examples: “Twat did you say? I cunt hear you.” “I’m such a loyal Duck fan I even have my beaver yelling ‘O’.”

This joke is especially funny for women because it reminds us of our women’s movement predecessors and what it took for them to open the doors we have now. One of those doors is grabbing your Mini Me and telling The Man your famous last words, hopefully in exchange for your Miranda Rights.

Joke Formula #3: Wardrobe Malfunctions

The first time I ever made my mother laugh due to one of my inappropriate underage drinking and getting naked in public stories was during the summer after my sophomore year of college. Anytime you falsely portray yourself as a 21 year old when you are not is an open invitation for Karma to deal you her best. I was at a local bar called The Downtown Lounge, a classy cover name, but better known by its real name: Diablo’s. Diablo and I, I mean my ex and I were off to another fun-filled night of “make each other jealous” when I decided it would be a fabulous idea to exercise my ID-free and open bar capabilities. Douche Bag was busy playing “Wingman” (a.k.a. steal your girlfriend) in front of me and I was tired of hearing his best friend Greg sing to cool jams on the Karaoke machine and pretending not to notice the massive swoops on his chick.

(This isn’t actually a joke rather you must be funny enough to have Wardrobe Malfunction happen to you. And by funny I mean unfortunate.)

Here’s the play-by-play breakdown: flash back to 2005 when gauchos were the shit. I thought I was a hotty totty with electric pink Bebe stilettos that I found at the Nordstrom Rack and was flirting just slightly enough with the elderly bartender that he wouldn’t ask for my driver’s license. When I felt secure enough that he would continue serving me Vodka Crans I attempted to saunter back over to Douche Bag and estimate the damage that had taken place while I was away. Apparently I am not an ambi-turner and my dismount to the left resulted in my heel hooking my parachute-width pant leg and proceeded to pull them to the floor. There was no chance that Douche Bag was paying any attention to me, and as I felt fresh cool air on my g-stringed ass, I immediately realized that 1. No one would be rushing to my aid, and 2. The 40-something bartender I just tried to hypnotize would need no more convincing. As several male patrons felt no shame in not adverting their eyes, I sheepishly (and I don’t believe I’ve ever been described as sheepish) reached down to the floor to pull up my elastic free excuse for pants.

Examples: losing a bikini pad in the “Jersey Shore” hot tub.

This “joke” is especially funny for women because Wardrobe Malfunction exists frequently in our nightmares and at least once in real life. The cruel truth is that I have never witnessed Wardrobe Malfunction happen to anyone else, though I may rot in an even deeper region of hell if I were to laugh out loud upon seeing this – Diablo himself would probably take away my oft-fantasized hand basket ride down.

We all can’t be funny. For every Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, there’s got to be the ugly comic relief sister Khloe. Fortunately for me I’m not specifically either, and fall into some sort of limbo category that requires Microsoft Word and an overuse of the backspace button to make my clever and witty self come to life. So for all you Debbie Downers like me out there, have no fear. You, too, could be the next Lucille Ball, Lisa Lampanelli, or Tina Fey. Remember, this is v. 1.0 which means that there is more comedic gold to come. I may be as funny as “Burlesque’s” chances at an Oscar but like Cher and Christina, you can’t blame me for trying. (I just HAD to end this with a drag queen drop!)

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