Friday, October 12, 2007

Looking for comedy

With the grant approved and on its way, I was able to turn my attention yesterday and today to a no less vexing assignment. Tomorrow is our annual Family Day for Honors students, alumni, and their families. We gather for coffee and browse the photos and memorabilia of students who studied abroad or did internships this summer. Then there's a program of entertainment.

That's where the trouble comes, for me. Inevitably I think of some great idea for a funny sketch to do with another faculty member. (Jane and I were the team while she was here; now I'm hoping Phil will be my new partner.) Then I have to write it.

I'm not all that funny. I don't think anyone who knows me would describe me as a comedian. Fairly outgoing, sure. A person who enjoys a good joke, absolutely. But funny? Nope. I'm not known as the person who cracks everybody else up. If anything, Noel is better at that than me -- and his written work proves it. I craft a laugh line that I'm proud of maybe one in four times I'm trying to write something funny. Noel can make me laugh just about every time he tries.

And delivering the comedy? Also not my strong suit. I'm no actor -- I'm just a ham. About the best than can be said for me on stage is that I'm loud and don't suffer from stage fright.

So I stared at my screen for about three total hours yesterday and today to come up with a couple of pages of lame comedy about the two Honors residence halls, Farris and New, engaged in a dialogue based on the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads. About 20 minutes of that time was spent lamenting that I couldn't simply shoehorn in my greatest comedy triumph: the line "I could totally make a bong out of that." Cheap laughs, but they were long and loud. I doubt my awkward evocation of the trouble Farris Hall residents have with flaking paint on their walls will be as well received.

My only hope with that Phil, whom I know for a fact is much funnier than me, will punch up my tired stabs at jokes before we deliver this thing, unrehearsed, tomorrow morning. If I win (or is it lose?) the pie-in-the-face charity penny jar competition, then at least I'll get one reliable laugh when the cream hits me on the schnoz.

No comments: