There’s an old showbiz adage — “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” Look how easy it was for me yesterday to write about being miserable. All I had to do was throw some Leonard Cohen or Beck lyrics up on the screen and everyone is crying a river.
But comedy requires work.
Today, I received an email from someone in the PR department of Conde Nast. I don’t know her, but just from her name, I visualize her as extremely attractive, single, ambitious, brunette, Jewish, with knowing eyes — someone like Sophia, but who’s not kicking me out.
Anyway, back to reality. This lovely PR person wrote to me wondering if I was interested in writing a post about an article in their current Details magazine. The article is very creatively titled “Is Being Well Hung the Key to Happiness?” She titled her email “Hung = Happiness.” The Economist this magazine is not.
Here’s the opening of the article:
Is Being Well Hung the Key to Happiness?
Some guys never seem to worry. The reason for that is probably in their pants.
Things were not looking good for Josh (not his real name). He had lost all the money he’d made as a day trader. To make matters worse, his longtime girlfriend walked out on him, taking all the furniture and whatever else she could carry. By any measure, it was rock bottom. But when Josh’s friends mobilized the rescue crew, they were astounded: Josh appeared to be totally unfazed.
“He didn’t care!” says Josh’s best friend, Steve (not his real name), a 35-year-old hedge-fund manager who worked with him on Wall Street. “He shrugged it off. It would have killed a lesser man.” But Steve knew his friend’s nonchalance wasn’t due to some elaborate form of self-hypnosis or handfuls of Wellbutrin. Josh owed his composure to something far simpler: nine inches of the most primal form of self-assurance known to man.
“If it weren’t for his cock, he’d be a hobo riding the trains around the country,” Steve says. “It’s opened doors for him. Rich women put him up at their apartments. We have friends who have more money than him and are more successful than him, but they all say, ‘I want to come back as this guy.’ Secretly, we all want to be him.”
Clearly the PR department of Conde Nast did their research and knew exactly who on the blogosphere who be interested in this new “scientific” research. (I can’t believe the hoity-toity Huffington Post wrote about this important scientific discovery too!) It really didn’t matter that I had never opened a copy of Details magazine in my life.
At first, I had no interest in writing about this post. After all, the PR department sent it to me because they WANT me to write about it, and as Sophia would love to tell you, I’m passive-aggressive. Therapy has changed me, and as proof of that, I’m actually going to go against the grain and agree to help out this lovely and good-willed woman from Conde Nast.
But, here’s my dilemma. I want to say something funny about the article, but I’m stuck between two vastly different comedic “gags.” This is what makes comedy so difficult. Follow along as I mull over my options. Consider this a “Master’s Class” in Comedy.
Gag #1 —
“Happiness = Hung? I think the scientists at Details Magazine better go back into the lab. I think my sleeping in the car last week being miserable clearly refutes their findings!”
Now, I’m the first one to admit that this joke is a dud. However, it serves a vital purpose. Think about the context of the joke. What important piece of real-life information am I subtly adding to the joke? Here’s another hint — soon I may be re-joining the dating pool. Have you figured it out yet? Can you see why I might want to let this less-than-stellar joke remain?
Imagine, mommybloggers across North America, emailing and twittering each other this afternoon, “Did you read Neilochka’s blog today? It wasn’t very funny, but tell me if I’m wrong — in the subtext of the joke, wasn’t he insinuating that he is… well… uh… well… really…well…?
Gag #2 —
“Happiness = Hung? I see! Now I understand why I was miserable sleeping in the car that night!”
That is a much funnier punchline. It is a double whammy. I end up sleeping in the car and blaming it on my own… shortcomings. Of course, it also sends a message out to the world that may end up hurting me in a few months when I make my first appearance at BlogHer.
Imagine, I’m waiting on line to get my BlogHer badge, one of the few men amidst hundreds of horny housewives.
Mommyblogger #1 (not her real name): “Isn’t that Neilochka? He’s even better looking in person. And so tall!”
Mommyblogger #2: “Uh, yeah. But did you ever read that post he wrote in February about Details Magazine…”
Mommyblogger #1: “No, send me the link.”
Mommyblogger #2: “You NEED to read it. It says so much about him. I’ll send you the link in tinyURL.”
Mommyblogger #1: “Huh? Why in tinyURL?”
Mommyblogger #2: “Read his post. Then you’ll understand.”
Clearly, you can see the dilemma I have here. Go with the joke that has the subliminal message that drives women crazy or go fo the funnier line that doesn’t get me laid at BlogHer. This is exactly why comedy is underappreciated. Funny movies never win the Oscars or any serious awards. I don’t mean artsy-funny movies like Juno. I mean the crap that I’m going to write. But they really should. Men expose their souls through comedy!
My Penis just hit me on the leg.
Neil’s Penis: “What the f**king kind of post is this, Neilochka? Are your cracking up over this Sophia thing? Stop moping around and be happy! Remember Bobby what’s his face’s song– Don’t worry, be happy!”
Neil: “And what should I be happy about? I think soon I’m going to be moving out of the house… again!”
My Penis clears his throat, reminding me about that dumb Happiness = Hung article in Details magazine.
Neil’s Penis: “You’re happy, right?”
Neil: “Oh, right… right… I’m happy…. very happy indeed. Don’t worry about me anymore, Mom. Everything is great. I’m happy.”
Neil’s Penis: “Exactly! Woo-hoo! Nothing can get us down!”
Neil: “Thank you, Dad, for your excellent genes!”
Neil’s Penis: “That’s right. You can learn something about PR from Conde Nast. Self-promotion is important. Party! Party! Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!”
Neil and Neil’s Penis: (singing together) “We are Family…!”
Thank you Conde Nast and Details Magazine for reminding me that I have so much to be happy about!