Have you ever met anyone who wrote jokes for a living?
Who are these people that write jokes? Why doesn’t one ever meet them personally? Facebook is a huge community, why hasn’t one met someone who is a professional Joke Writer? This is one epic fail, isn’t it Facebook? I don’t know how you can preen yourself after this!
I haven’t come across a single Linkedin profile either which lists Joke Writing as their profession. One meets humor writers though; the air is thick with them. But Joke Writers? No, not ever! It is inexplicable and unnerving. Almost sinister!
Do joke writers belong to a secret, subversive society who must swear awful oaths of relentless and unmitigated invisibility before they are allowed into the guild? A shiver goes down one’s spine to think of it. A shifty, sinister band o’ brothers (and sisters) who churn out mirth! Oh, the horror of it!
Do their oaths require them to sentence themselves voluntarily to the guild’s grim gloomy (the hell with grammar/ composition rules which forbid the use of three consecutive words beginning with the same letter!) dungeons never again to see the light of day- or to meet any human save their fellow denizens? Such sacrifice!
A terrible, inescapable compulsion to write jokes must surely hold them by the throat in a vice- like grip. Why else would they endure such hardships willingly? It is almost like a virulent disease which you can neither control nor eradicate. The thought is grotesquely macabre, fascinatingly repulsive and absolutely gory!
It’s been my experience that most (joke) writers don’t talk about their craft–they just do it.
(Word in parentheses mine)
One almost pities the poor souls. They self- immolate only to light the lives of their fellow beings, like a candle. How noble, how selfless, how saintly! One imagines haggard beings, their eyes sunk into their skulls, gaunt of cheek and weary of frame, furiously scribbling away jokes, day after day. Their raiment threadbare, their person filthy, caring neither for nourishment of body nor soul, these valiant beings toil on until one day they cease to be. They go unsung, unknown, nameless- the lot of all humanity’s benefactors!
…there is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized. Or even cured. In a household with more than one person, of which one is a writer, the only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private, and where food can be poked in to him with a stick. Because, if you disturb the patient at such times, he may break into tears or become violent. Or he may not hear you at all… and, if you shake him at this stage, he bites…
~ Robert A. Heinlein
Jokes about human beings- their lives, struggles and sorrows- can only be written under conditions of inhuman solitude. What can they, who walk brazenly among men, know of the victories and defeats of their fellows? They walk with unseeing eyes and deaf ears; they walk with frozen hearts and numbed minds. It is only in the pitiless dungeons of the guild that joke writers- divorced from humanity- can spin tender human tales of mirth and wit.
One wonders whether their calling is a comic relief to their life style or their life style is a throwback- in the nature of a deliberate, grim contrast- to their profession. One almost gets the feeling as if the bleakness of their days are a must. They create so much mirth in their professional life that they are allowed to be utterly morose in their personal lives- just to compensate. How else is a balance to be maintained?
Whoever they are, the lonely joke writers, they have my gratitude. They let humanity benefit from their sweat and blood without ever inflicting their person upon it and demanding accolades, awards and appreciation (four consecutive A’s… yay!) for services rendered. This is the sweetest deal humanity has ever swung- without being aware of it- which is rather an anti- climax, but that’s okay. One takes the rough with the smooth with as much sangfroid as one can muster.
There’s just one fly in the ointment which prevents the deal to be flawless in its perfection. One appreciates their need to explore new areas for their talent but…
I wish they’d stop writing political speeches.
This is really witty. I love the quote on the picture. You know, I’ve met a couple of stand up comics. They’re really boring. Wonder if they are actually saving up all that wit for their act – or someone’s writing it for them.
Ritu, somehow I have never had a taste for slap- stick comedy. Unless there is finesse in the comedy, it doesn’t manage to get so much as a titter out of me. I wonder who writes their act for them… they can’t always write their own.
The funniest part of this post was the last line. Joke writers writing up speeches for politicians is a true, yet funny phenomenon of our times, isn’t it 😀
Thank you Jairam.
Political speeches are becoming more and more hilarious, thanks to joke writers. 🙂
Seriously funny, funnily serious…
A joke should make someone laugh, not laugh at someone.
– Perfectly Average
Yes a joke should make someone laugh not laugh at them. Thank you for reading. 🙂
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone
That last comment is the essence of what I consider good humor writing – unless you can make even the victim laugh with you instead of making people laugh at a victim what you are perpetrating is not mirth but cruelty and even the ones who laugh are sullied by their laughter. (Of course, public figures are fair game 🙂 If they have not developed thick skins they ought to 🙂 )
By the way, the essence of your post formed the concept of an Asimov story – that no-one knows the origins of jokes; that the best ones always start with “Heard a good one lately” without any attribution of who it originated from; and ends with a realization that humans are guinea pigs for a race which puts in jokes to test reactions 🙂
And, you quoted Heinlein? I never knew there was anyone else around who even knew he was an author leave alone read anything by him 🙂
Suresh, the last comment that you quoted is by someone who is a major Asimov fan. I have never read Asimov myself and he continues to be disgusted by my crassness. But then, he hasn’t read Ayn Rand either, so we’re even there.
I agree with both of you. In fact it is sad that people deliberately say things that are cruel and mean. One wonders what kind of mentality gets a kick out of making another person feel awful.
About Heinlein, I must disabuse you of your flattering (to me) assumption. I have never read Heinlein; I had never heard of him until today. I searched for quotes and found this very pithy quote from him on Goodreads. I really must read him. You recommend him, I assume?
Such a pleasure to interact with you always. With each comment you leave behind, you cause me to move a step forward, look a little deeper, climb a wee bit higher. Thank you. You know me enough to know that I mean it most sincerely. 🙂
As someone who has read both Asimov AND Rand, I suppose I ought to look down my nose at both of you 😛
Heinlein is also a SF writer a la Asimov – and was counted as one of the big three of golden age SF – alongside Asimov and Arthur Clarke. So, I really do not know whether he is a good read for your tastes 🙂
I have read a few short stories by Asimov and they appealed to me immensely. Moreover, I just loved this quote from Heinlein that I shared. That bodes well for the rest of his work.
Enjoy looking down your nose at me for a while longer. I’ll catch up with you soon. 🙂
Oh yeah off late, political/ public speech/interviews are more humorous!!. Crude jokes and cheap comedy on others caste, race, physical and mental state is what widely appreciated
And somehow, I have no taste for crude jokes and cheap/ slapstick comedy. Really in poor taste.
Thanks for reading Vaishnavi.. 🙂
hahaha Dagny! I must tell you that the pictures and quotes that you pick out for all your posts are masterpieces, perfectly in sync, as if they were made for your post. Your last line was the killer. It set off the giggles in me. I love humor and all those who do it with class. It is on rare occasions and with rare company that I enjoy risque humor :). Enjoyed the post, as always!
Rachna, of all the compliments you have paid me, this one is the cherry on top. I sometimes spend nearly 80% of my time finding/ creating the appropriate picture and quotes for my posts. To know that the effort has been noticed- and that too by you- gives me deep satisfaction. How well you know how to touch my heart! Thank you for your words. They mean more to me than you can imagine. Bless you!
Hah…somehow, I knew where this was headed. And if it hadn’t headed where it thankfully did, I was going to question you whether you owned a TV, and if you were to have replied in the affirmative, asked you a secondary about what you did with it at 9 pm every night!
Bloody joke-writers indeed.
Lovely post, Dagny!
I thought you were promoting ‘bleddy’ as the more polished version of a more earthy word. 🙂 I am pleased that the post went predictably where it was meant to. 🙂
Thank you for coming by. I feel so gratified when you visit- and I mean it.