Hands down—my father is the funniest person I know. When I was eight I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to be funny. I wanted to put a smile on someone’s face when it didn’t seem like anybody else could. You know the classic pull the sword out of the stone and you’re the “rightful king” concept? I wanted to be the king; a ruler of happiness. Corny? I know.
So, one day I asked my dad, “how are you so funny?” My question caught him off guard. He explained how to watch people, how to take in what makes people laugh. Everybody is different. No two people have the same sense of humor. Certain crowds respond to certain jokes. Pushing boundaries is critical, but be careful not to go overboard. And timing, well timing is everything.
I took what my dad said to heart, I then took it on the school bus. In 4th grade, I was new to the school. Every day I sat across from my friends Lexie, Ryan and Adam on the bus. Lexie had braces, Ryan a backwards snap back, and Adam, a bowl cut. My crew. They were my first audience and I’d nervously try things out and see if I could get them to crack a smile. I’d come home and tell my mom and dad what worked and what didn’t. They would give me feedback. After weeks of trying, I started to get it. Adam laughed, Lexie giggled. My life changed.
I was new again in 7th grade. I had to start all over, bus scenario part two. As a twelve-year-old, I was a bit more confident. Making friends fast, I quickly became known as the “Funny New Girl.” While gaining this reputation, I realized I didn’t want to be all jokes and no business. As high school started, I made sure to be there for friends and not say something funny when the timing was wrong. When a friend was crying about an ex-boyfriend, I would tell her there are other fish in the sea. But, when that same friend wasn’t saying much at lunch, I would catch her eye and say with brows furrowed, “Hey. He had an abnormally large head; you never noticed?”
I don’t just use my humor to cheer up people. I use it to escape tense situations. When I was a day late on my homework, I told my teacher a volcano had erupted at my grandparents’ house in Florida and I had to fly out. She smiled broadly, shrugged, and gave me full credit. I say whatever comes to mind and odds are it will work. Even my eleventh grade English teacher told me to join his improv club. But, I don’t want to be known as the girl in the comedy club; I want to be known as the hilarious girl who does it her own way. I want to have some sort of legacy, to be remembered as hysterical and entertaining, but not in anyone’s face.
One of my favorite things to do is listen to comedy albums from Aziz Ansari to Chris Rock and then try and deconstruct why a joke works. Eight years after I first asked my dad how to be funny, I know exactly how to make my mom laugh. I know what jokes will result in a disapproving look from my mom and what jokes will make her smile. Making fun of her ukulele playing gets me a glare. Describing my day as if I just went through the zombie apocalypse results in uncontrollable laughter. And yes, my mom plays the ukulele. That is a topic for a different essay.
My proudest accomplishment? Making my inspiration, my father, laugh daily.