I think I have a bit of a fixation with being funny.
I’m not sure what it is exactly, but to me being funny is almost more important than being nice or kind or any of those other things that I’m led to believe are positive characteristics. I am always the one in restaurants telling loud jokes at the expense of her children for cheap laughs. It’s attention seeking behaviour I know – probably symptomatic of some sort of hideous self-esteem issue* – but in my mind being funny is the only way to be not boring and make people like me.
“But you are funny,” says my friend Kathie, “so it’s OK.”
“But what would I be if I wasn’t?” I ask, somewhat needily, “What would I have then?”
“You’d be nothing,” she says, “just an empty shell.”
I delivered some training recently to a group of PR agencies and small businesses about working with bloggers. When I got home Boyfriend asked me how it went.
“It was good I think,” I said. “I didn’t mess up or run out of things to say or anything, but I’m not sure people laughed enough. I mean, they did laugh, but it could have been heartier.”
“Well you were delivering serious training,” he quite rightly pointed out, “it’s not stand up comedy.”
I knew he was right, but still I wasn’t quite satisfied.
Over Christmas I was hanging out with my nephew and niece. My nephew is four and quite easy to entertain, but my niece, who is two, has taken lately to mocking me cruelly. “I don’t like Auntie Joey,” she will say, staring right at me and scowling. I was trying to get in her good books with a made up story about a raccoon that went on a rampage in Marks and Spencer looking for Percy Pigs.
My nephew found it quite a lot funnier than she did, but that’s fine – I take the attention wherever I can get it.
“Is Auntie Joey your favourite Auntie?” asked Belle, who likes to test people.
He thought for a minute, like he was looking for a tactful way to say no.
“You’re my funniest Auntie!” he said.
Boom. I’ll take that.
How important is being funny to you?
*Which we will carefully ignore.