Bedtime Stories

Years ago, back when we were in grad school, studying Kant and Descartes and Aristotle and Plato, a friend of ours had an interesting remark:

A philosophy of comedy needs to be funny.

What was interesting about his remark, besides its cleverness, was what he was getting at: The essence of something needs to be what it is. If you’re getting at the essence of comedy, what it’s about, how it works — which is what you do in philosophy, and why philosophers get laid so hard — your understanding of it needs to be funny itself. Which is the classic problem with explaining a joke: There are the ingredients, but where’s the soufflé?

That’s what a joke is: a soufflé. It blossoms quickly, and wilts even faster. It’s dead long before you even try to explain it. Jokes get old. You can’t tell the same joke twice.

A philosophy of comedy would also need to get at that: Not just how a joke is funny, but how it’s only funny once. It’s there, it’s gone, it’s never coming back. Once you get a joke, you have it. You don’t need to get it again. The pleasure of a joke is in the moment of understanding. You can enjoy watching a comedy twice, find other pleasures you missed the first time, but you’ll never repeat the pleasure of that first pop, the pop of getting it, the laughter of that pop of recognition.

People who try to explain comedy miss that. It’s not about the joke, it’s about the pop. It’s not about the comedian. It’s about the audience. It’s about the moment.

We have other moments like that in our lives, many other moments. Our lives are filled with those moments. Our lives are about those moments. There’s a first time for everything! It feels like the first time!

Philosophers don’t think about the first time enough, the moment of it, the experience of the dawning of awareness, the pleasure of discovering something new that you hadn’t noticed before. Maybe they would if they weren’t getting laid so hard. Maybe if philosophers weren’t so preoccupied with the endurance of their impossibly long orgasms, they’d realize they’re not just having an orgasm. Someone gave it to them. Someone understood the conditions necessary to experience the infinite bliss of mortal existence, and provided them.

Deliberately.

Knowing what they were doing.

And doing it.

There are only two things that make your body shake like that, shake uncontrollably with the wholeness of your being. Lovers know how to create the conditions for one of them. Comedians know how to get you there with the other.

Which is why philosophers may get laid like you wouldn’t believe, but comedians get crazy laid.

And so our friend was wrong about the requirements of a philosophy of comedy. It doesn’t need to be funny. It just needs to get you laid.

28 comments:

8:01 pm • Sunday • February 17, 2019

I have, more than once, used my sense of humor to get closer to the object of my affection …

9:12 pm • Friday • February 22, 2019

Trump Demands William Barr Prove Loyalty By Putting Gun In Mouth, Pulling Trigger

11:25 pm • Friday • February 22, 2019

I firmly believe in the timeless lesson of the Preston Sturges classic Sullivan’s Travels: Life is hard as hell, and it’s better to make ’em laugh than make ’em think.

2:12 am • Saturday • February 23, 2019

@¡Andrew!: I have my own version of that: You can’t explain shit to idiots, so don’t bother. You can, however, make ’em laugh, so maybe it’s possible to slip something past them that way.

11:23 am • Wednesday • February 27, 2019

Jim Jordan is a fucking tool. That is all.

12:04 pm • Wednesday • February 27, 2019

Cohen’s testimony could have gone better for the GOPers and Trump. Clusterfuck can not even begin to describe it.

7:19 pm • Wednesday • February 27, 2019

@SanFranLefty: Covering up for Tdumbp sure is a lot harder than covering up the sexual abuse of college wrestlers, that’s for sure.

7:22 pm • Wednesday • February 27, 2019

@ManchuCandidate: They don’t care; they worship Tdumbp cause they’re just like him. Same with the shamelessly hypocritical Despicables that vote for these monsters. Always braying about “the children” yet don’t give a shit about the ones locked up and raped at the border. These fuckers are just sick wastes of space.

7:29 pm • Wednesday • February 27, 2019

@ManchuCandidate: On a much happier note, I heard this morning that Jagmeet Singh won his byelection in Burnaby with a decent margin; whatta you think about him?

My take is that he’s still green but humble and sincere and capable of growing into the job. (And I don’t care how many GOTCHAs Rosemary Barton throws at him, ha ha).

10:14 am • Thursday • February 28, 2019

What she said:

“It would be nice if Michael Cohen were right and everyone who lies for Trump gets their just desserts. That’s certainly what happened to him. But Republicans are so brazen in their corruption for a simple reason: They know that thanks to gerrymandering and the disproportionate representation of voters in rural areas and red states, most of them hold safe seats in Congress. They can lie and cover up Trump’s crimes until the end of time and conservative voters in their districts will continue to support them, doggedly and even enthusiastically, as long as they continue to dish out racist and sexist policies.”

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/02/republicans-spew-incoherent-lies-fantasies-serve-no-purpose-cover-manifestly-corrupt-president/

10:28 am • Thursday • February 28, 2019

I’m so inspired by Pramila Jayapal’s bold Medicare for All plan. It’s truly revolutionary and a huge leap forward in ensuring the health and dignity of every person in this country. It even covers long-term care (!) which is an unavoidable reckoning we’re gonna be having as millions of Boomers will discover quite soon. I’m so proud she’s my representative.

11:16 am • Thursday • February 28, 2019

/seen online/

“Kim Jong Un has updated his Facebook profile to ‘Seeing Other Dictators.’ Awkward!”

12:32 pm • Thursday • February 28, 2019

@¡Andrew!: The long term care thing is why I worry about cancer more than heart disease. The big C seems so much more costly. It is what took out ¾ of my parents generation. Then again they mostly smoked like chimneys and/or drank like diving ducks.

4:30 pm • Thursday • February 28, 2019

@DElurker: Mine was cheap, all things considered. Chop off some colon and done.

5:18 pm • Thursday • February 28, 2019

“Michael Cohen claims that Trump is a racist, a con man and a cheat.

Which would have been a surprise… if it wasn’t already the slogan for Trump’s 2020 campaign.”

— Trevor Noah

4:05 am • Saturday • March 2, 2019

@¡Andrew!: And a solid 40 percent of Americans love him for that. The only difference between him and Republicans over the past fifty years is that he owns it.

7:27 pm • Monday • March 4, 2019

@nojo: If we have only one certainty left in this world, it’s that we must never underestimate the sinister stupidity of the American public.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the greatest argument against democracy is five minutes of conversation with the average voter.

3:47 pm • Tuesday • March 5, 2019

“Trump’s base love him for liberating them to hate illegal immigrants and indulge their hatred of social change, of same sex marriage or woman’s rights and the rise of African Americans as a powerful political and social presence in the United States. His stance against equality for disavowed minority groups is exactly what they find attractive in him. He liberates their worst inclinations and fights against those who want to see the best in humanity dominate our society.”

— Dr. Henry J. Friedman, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/03/trumps-grandiose-paranoid-character-appeals-supporters-despite-broken-promises-harvard-psychoanalyst/

10:16 am • Thursday • March 7, 2019

Now we know why Alan Dershowitz continues to humiliate and disgrace himself every day.

Trump supporter Alan Dershowitz accused — in open court — of having sex with victim of billionaire’s pedophile ring

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/03/trump-supporter-alan-dershowitz-accused-in-open-court-of-having-stuff-with-victim-of-billionaires-ring-report/

2:37 pm • Tuesday • March 12, 2019

https://deadspin.com/college-coaches-took-cash-bribes-as-part-of-multi-milli-1833232053

This really pisses me off, but does not surprise me. One of the stupidest things (that I constantly bring up) I ever heard from my Trumper Uncle/Aunt is that they blamed black kids (racism against good Asian kids, they said) for keeping my not as smart as they thought they were cousins out of Hahvahd. The truth was it was the not as smart as they thought they were rich white kids aka the real affirmative action.

I must admit that I got into the school I wanted based on merit. My school was one of the tougher places in Canada City in part because of its networking connections to the upper crust of Canada City (seemed to missed the boat on that one.) A lot of the bullshit rivalry with another school was based on the fact that the other school was where the stupider rich kids went. It wasn’t entirely wrong.

This is why these scandals why an Ivy League education is particularly worthless especially if the kid is a fucking moron or dipshit of a connected person (like say for instance, The Donald and his spawn) and unlike an unconnected kid of a Kenyan Economist and a Iowan Anthropologist who graduated from Hahvahd law.

12:34 pm • Wednesday • March 13, 2019

I worked my way through State U and then a private university for grad school, and college always has been a deeply unfair, broken, Kafkaesque ordeal that favors the wealthy.

Legacy admissions and legalized bribery through endowment fund donations are the traditional routes to purchase admissions, and bullshit tests like the ACT, SAT, GRE, and GMAT have zero to do with predicting achievement and don’t really do anything other than measure students’ ability to take the ACT, SAT, GRE, and GMAT. If universities were genuinely interested in fairness, they would ban all of the above.

Virtually all of the people who’ve been busily ruining the country for the last 40 years have degrees from so-called elite, despicable influence-peddling institutions, hence “America’s Best ‘n Brightest” keep totally blowing it again and again. Those endless wars and kleptocratic trillion dollar tax cuts for the rich are literally what our rulers would rather pay for than educating children, curing diseases, and lifting generations out of grinding poverty. It’ll always be a huge scam until we force them to change.

1:26 pm • Wednesday • March 13, 2019

Just picture an alternate universe in which mousy Robbie Mook gets nearly a decade in the slammer for conspiracy against the United States and the subsequent Republican reaction. The mind reels.

It really says something about the power of white supremacy that we just expect Republicans to be convicted of charges against the people of this country and their voters don’t even care.

5:30 pm • Wednesday • March 13, 2019

@¡Andrew!:
These folks are the same folks who don’t mind the felonies and misdemeanors of their local sports ball heroes.

5:30 pm • Wednesday • March 13, 2019

@¡Andrew!:
Some of them are quite bright and intelligent, but the majority are fucking dimwitted numbfucks.

5:58 pm • Wednesday • March 13, 2019

Hometown state university, which was fine by me. Football team sucked, which was a blessing. Then Phil Knight decided to drop millions of Nike Bux on campus. Oh, well. Rah.

12:38 pm • Friday • March 15, 2019

@¡Andrew!: My favorite part was when the AUSA said at the press conference that “This wasn’t donating money to build a building, this was bribery and fraud.”

/errrr, what? Needle scratch.

Apparently, they were guilty of criminal cheapness – had they put a few more ,000s at the end of the check to the university, it would have been a-okay!

1:10 pm • Friday • March 15, 2019

@SanFranLefty: Felicity Huffman paid what, $15K for a ringer to take her daughter’s SAT? These people spend more than that on a handbag, and it’s dust compared to the lifetime earnings of someone with a degree from a top tier school. It’s just all so sordid, and yet in our faces our entire lives.

12:35 am • Thursday • March 28, 2019

@ManchuCandidate: Every freakin’ time Adrienne Arsenault mentions the SNC Lavalin affair—DRINK!

Add a comment