Tag Archives: Red Skelton

I Love to Laugh

It began in childhood with the Red Skelton Show.    Every Wednesday night it a was a refuge for me.  And refuge was a critical idea for me.  I was a child hiding a terrible secret from the entire world.  At times I hated myself.  Twice as a teen I came very close to choosing suicide over life.  The person I most needed to hide from was myself.  And humor helped.  Red Skelton’s gentle humor helped me to not only escape from myself for a while, it taught me to laugh at my own foibles and not take things quite so seriously.

images (3)

DSCN5308

 

 

 

 

 

 

mark-twain-6fa45e42400eea8cac3953cb267d66a33825a370-s6-c30

media.npr.org

In my college years I discovered humor in written form.  Mark Twain swiftly earned my utter devotion as I read not only Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, but Roughing It, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Pudd’nhead Wilson, The Mysterious Stranger, and The Autobiography of Mark Twain.  You know, there are a large number of things in Mark Twain’s humorous books that make you cry, that make you angry, and make you think deep thoughts.  I basically discovered that humor is a way that smart people choose to think of things which helps to keep you sane and basically un-suicided.

robin_williams_tribute_by_emilystepp-d7ut3q0

A beautiful portrait by artist Emily Stepp

It is obvious that some people become very skilled at humor because they have used it all their lives to fight the darkness .  Robin Williams is only few years older than I am.  In many ways his life has paralleled my own (obviously minus the wealth and fame in my case… but what would’ve happened if Robin had become a school teacher?)  I have depended on Robin Williams’ movies to keep me going, giving me insights in how to talk to kids, how to be a parent, and how to empathize with others.  Of course, I haven’t yet taken some of his movie advice.  I never put on a mask and a dress to deceive my own children.  But only time will tell.

20160525_094308

I obsess about humor and how you create it.  I gorge on things like the works of Dave Barry.  Do you know who he is?  Florida newspaper columnist who writes books about everyday life and the fools who live it?  I have to do a post on Dave Barry, because he makes me laugh so hard that milk shoots out of my nose, sometimes when I am not even drinking milk… believe me, I don’t know how that works either.

 

 

I love to laugh.  It makes the world right again.  I have laughed an awful lot for almost an entire lifetime now.  I treasure all the funny people I have known.  And I need to continue to try to make people laugh up until the very end.  Because the world is too often not a funny place.  It can be full of badness and sadness and suffering.  And as Mark Twain  so aptly pointed out, “Against the assault of laughter… nothing can stand.”

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Filed under autobiography, clowns, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, writing humor

Sundays at Walmart

I figured today was going to be a bad-luck-sort-of day because the signs and omens were all against me. I forgot to buy dog food yesterday. And I also forgot yogurt for the Princess’s breakfast in the morning. Not only that, the Simon’s Cat game on my phone made me lose the daily challenge three times and the phone ran out of charge before I beat the stupid thing.

George Appleby and his wife (Red Skelton’s Hen-pecked Husband sketch)

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What’s worse, the first and only thing my wife said to me this morning was, “Michael, stop looking at me with such an angry face!”

I admit I wasn’t smiling. But I was not mad about anything. Should I have been?

“I’m not angry. Are you just saying you think my face is ugly?”

“You said it. I didn’t.”

Yes, the signs and omens were not in my favor today.

What is destined to go wrong?

Car accident on the way to Walmart?

Didn’t happen.

The price of yogurt went up to the point that I could no longer afford it?

Nope, again. But the bill at Walmart had 13 dollars on the front of the price. !!! 13!!! The unluckiest number? I added a candy bar to get the price up to 14 dollars. The candy bar was 88 cents. The total= $13.95. “Oh, no!!! An impending stroke when I carry the dog food into the house!”

Nope. Didn’t happen there either. Is bad karma building up on me for my next teaching job?

Maybe. We find out with 6th graders on Tuesday.

Or maybe I am just fixated on the bad signs and omens too much. If I worry too much about it, I might become George Appleby.

But then again, my wife probably deserves to be covered in toothpaste.

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Filed under comedians, feeling sorry for myself, humor

I Love to Laugh

It began in childhood with the Red Skelton Show.    Every Wednesday night it a was a refuge for me.  And refuge was a critical idea for me.  I was a child hiding a terrible secret from the entire world.  At times I hated myself.  Twice as a teen I came very close to choosing suicide over life.  The person I most needed to hide from was myself.  And humor helped.  Red Skelton’s gentle humor helped me to not only escape from myself for a while, it taught me to laugh at my own foibles and not take things quite so seriously.

images (3)

DSCN5308

 

 

 

 

 

 

mark-twain-6fa45e42400eea8cac3953cb267d66a33825a370-s6-c30

media.npr.org

In my college years I discovered humor in written form.  Mark Twain swiftly earned my utter devotion as I read not only Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, but Roughing It, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Pudd’nhead Wilson, The Mysterious Stranger, and The Autobiography of Mark Twain.  You know, there are a large number of things in Mark Twain’s humorous books that make you cry, that make you angry, and make you think deep thoughts.  I basically discovered that humor is a way that smart people choose to think of things which helps to keep you sane and basically un-suicided.

robin_williams_tribute_by_emilystepp-d7ut3q0

A beautiful portrait by artist Emily Stepp

It is obvious that some people become very skilled at humor because they have used it all their lives to fight the darkness .  Robin Williams is only few years older than I am.  In many ways his life has paralleled my own (obviously minus the wealth and fame in my case… but what would’ve happened if Robin had become a school teacher?)  I have depended on Robin Williams’ movies to keep me going, giving me insights in how to talk to kids, how to be a parent, and how to empathize with others.  Of course, I haven’t yet taken some of his movie advice.  I never put on a mask and a dress to deceive my own children.  But only time will tell.

20160525_094308

I obsess about humor and how you create it.  I gorge on things like the works of Dave Barry.  Do you know who he is?  Florida newspaper columnist who writes books about everyday life and the fools who live it?  I have to do a post on Dave Barry, because he makes me laugh so hard that milk shoots out of my nose, sometimes when I am not even drinking milk… believe me, I don’t know how that works either.

 

 

I love to laugh.  It makes the world right again.  I have laughed an awful lot for almost an entire lifetime now.  I treasure all the funny people I have known.  And I need to continue to try to make people laugh up until the very end.  Because the world is too often not a funny place.  It can be full of badness and sadness and suffering.  And as Mark Twain  so aptly pointed out, “Against the assault of laughter… nothing can stand.”

12 Comments

Filed under autobiography, clowns, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, writing humor

Red Skelton

I don’t usually do portraits, but, as I believe I may have said on an older post, Red Skelton is like a god to me.  Much of what I know about comedy, I learned from him back in the 60’s and early 70’s.  I watched him religiously on Wednesday nights on both CBS and NBC (channels 5 from Mason City, Iowa, and 13 from Des Moines).  He made me laugh.  Sometimes he even made me cry.  So I honor him now with a portrait (or insult him, depending on your opinion of my artwork) in a Paffooney of Red as Clem Kadiddlehopper, pride (or maybe village idiot) of Cornpone County, Tennessee.

DSCN5308

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Now, That’s Entertainment! (reposted for the love of laughter)

ImageImage

 

(pictures borrowed from; http://www.whenmoviesweremovies.com/RedSkeltonimages.html, http://godcelebs.com/22413-red-skelton.html,  http://vint-rad.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html)

How do you spell comedy?  R-E-D-S-K-E-L-T-O-N!  For real, that’s how I spelled it during a third grade spelling bee in 1965.  Pretty dang dumb, wasn’t I?  But it got a laugh from the prettiest girl in class.  I truly couldn’t get enough of Red Skelton on Wednesday nights.  It was on past my bedtime, but Dad always let me watch, because… well, I think it was his favorite show too.  George Appleby always trying to get something past his wife who would always catch him and punish him soundly for something that truthfully wasn’t his fault.  That con man tricked him into drinking that stuff that made him act like an insane lady’s man.  San Fernando Red pulling a gag on the man with the silver six-gun and hoofing it out of town before the townsfolk caught on to him with the tar and feathers.  He never truly got what he had coming, or what he wanted, either.  Someone else got it instead.  Freddy the Freeloader making even poverty and homelessness funny.  He never passed up a cigar butt in the street and found a dime on every sidewalk.

Image

I always thought that if it was going to be funny, it had to be done Red’s way.  Let’s face it, there were two kinds of humor back then and only one my parents truly approved of.  They were Eisenhower Republicans living in Iowa, the heart of the Midwest.  Red’s gentle humor, with its hidden ribald parts, could profoundly make you laugh, and once in a while bring a tear into your eye.  It was never mean-spirited or cruel.  It never made a political or religious point.  It always assumed that all people were good deep down, and even the bad guys could be reformed with the right joke or prank to make them see the error of their ways.  That was comedy.

ImageImageImage

The other kind, the scary kind was Lenny Bruce and George Carlin.  They would say bad words, even though you couldn’t say Carlin’s famous seven words on TV back then.  They made jokes about dark and desperate things.  Democratic political conventions in Chicago, the Viet Nam War, racial tension, the Black Panthers, these were all fair game for satire and black humor.  Their jokes assumed that all people were basically bad and greedy and ignorant… full of malice towards all.  Not even the comedian himself was assumed to be the exception to the rule.

And seriously un-funny things were happening.  Kennedy was shot in 1963.  Another Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.  were both killed in 1968.  Patty Hearst was first kidnapped by and then somehow forced to be a part of the Symbionese  Liberation Army.  Chaos took the world we knew and turned it upside down.  You had to learn to laugh at dark things, because laughing was somehow better than crying and hurting inside.  The pictures of the My Lai Massacre in Life Magazine made me sick to my stomach for weeks.  I did everything I could in class to make that pretty girl laugh, and when I couldn’t… I had to shut up for a while.  I had to think.

I decided early on that I needed humor to live.  I had to have the funny parts in my life in order to ward off the darkness.  I whistled walking home from choir practice at the Methodist church on dark November nights.  I told jokes to the rustling leaves and invisible hoot owls.  I got by.

So, what is the lesson learned?  If you read this far without gagging, then you know I mix a little funny with a little sad… and try to make a serious point in my writing.  Maybe I’m a fool to do it, but I truly believe that Red had it right.  People are basically good.  You can reform a bad guy with a good joke.   You can get by in the dark times.

If dark times are truly here again, then maybe that is why I have to tell my stories, make a few jokes, and make people think.  I know I may be killing you with boredom by now, but that’s what I do.  I’m a professional English teacher.   I bore people to death.  And if you read this far, and you’re still alive, maybe I can make you a little bit smarter too.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Now, That’s Entertainment!

How do you spell comedy?  R-E-D-S-K-E-L-T-O-N!  For real, that’s how I spelled it during a third grade spelling bee in 1965.  Pretty dang dumb, wasn’t I?  But it got a laugh from the prettiest girl in class.  I truly couldn’t get enough of Red Skelton on Wednesday nights.  It was on past my bedtime, but Dad always let me watch, because… well, I think it was his favorite show too.  George Appleby always trying to get something past his wife who would always catch him and punish him soundly for something that truthfully wasn’t his fault.  That con man tricked him into drinking that stuff that made him act like an insane lady’s man.  San Fernando Red pulling a gag on the man with the silver six-gun and hoofing it out of town before the townsfolk caught on to him with the tar and feathers.  He never truly got what he had coming, or what he wanted, either.  Someone else got it instead.  Freddy the Freeloader making even poverty and homelessness funny.  He never passed up a cigar butt in the street and found a dime on every sidewalk.

Image

 

    picture from  boomermagonline.com

I always thought that if it was going to be funny, it had to be done Red’s way.  Let’s face it, there were two kinds of humor back then and only one my parents truly approved of.  They were Eisenhower Republicans living in Iowa, the heart of the Midwest.  Red’s gentle humor, with its hidden ribald parts, could profoundly make you laugh, and once in a while bring a tear into your eye.  It was never mean-spirited or cruel.  It never made a political or religious point.  It always assumed that all people were good deep down, and even the bad guys could be reformed with the right joke or prank to make them see the error of their ways.  That was comedy.

The other kind, the scary kind was Lenny Bruce and George Carlin.  They would say bad words, even though you couldn’t say Carlin’s famous seven words on TV back then.  They made jokes about dark and desperate things.  Democratic political conventions in Chicago, the Viet Nam War, racial tension, the Black Panthers, these were all fair game for satire and black humor.  Their jokes assumed that all people were basically bad and greedy and ignorant… full of malice towards all.  Not even the comedian himself was assumed to be the exception to the rule.

And seriously un-funny things were happening.  Kennedy was shot in 1963.  Another Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.  were both killed in 1968.  Patty Hearst was first kidnapped by and then somehow forced to be a part of the Symbionese  Liberation Army.  Chaos took the world we knew and turned it upside down.  You had to learn to laugh at dark things, because laughing was somehow better than crying and hurting inside.  The pictures of the My Lai Massacre in Life Magazine made me sick to my stomach for weeks.  I did everything I could in class to make that pretty girl laugh, and when I couldn’t… I had to shut up for a while.  I had to think.

I decided early on that I needed humor to live.  I had to have the funny parts in my life in order to ward off the darkness.  I whistled walking home from choir practice at the Methodist church on dark November nights.  I told jokes to the rustling leaves and invisible hoot owls.  I got by.

So, what is the lesson learned?  If you read this far without gagging, then you know I mix a little funny with a little sad… and try to make a serious point in my writing.  Maybe I’m a fool to do it, but I truly believe that Red had it right.  People are basically good.  You can reform a bad guy with a good joke.   You can get by in the dark times.

If dark times are truly here again, then maybe that is why I have to tell my stories, make a few jokes, and make people think.  I know I may be killing you with boredom by now, but that’s what I do.  I’m a professional English teacher.   I bore people to death.  And if you read this far, and you’re still alive, maybe I can make you a little bit smarter too.

 

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Filed under Uncategorized