Humanity’s Laugh Track Since Before Punchlines Were Invented by
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Prompted By Comedy

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Ah, comedy. The universal language of amusement, the oil that keeps the gears of social interaction turning smoothly (except when it throws monkey wrenches into those gears, but that’s part of the fun, right?).

Laughter has been echoing through caves and amphitheaters since well before punchlines were even a twinkle in some early human’s eyes. Back then, it was probably good old caveman Ug trying to juggle mammoth tusks and ending up with a face full of dirt, much to the delight of his less clumsy (and possibly less hairy) peers.

Fast forward to the present, and the comedy landscape is as diverse as a clown car full of …well, diverse things. My personal comedian Mount Rushmore faces would include the whip-smart wit of Tina Fey, the absurdist genius of John Cleese, the observational mastery of Ricky Gervais, and the self-deprecating charm of Mindy Kaling. Do they poke fun at themselves? Absolutely! Because let’s face it, who’s easier to laugh at than the person tripping over their own ego (unless it’s you, in which case continued therapy or yoga classes might be the better option).

But the beauty of comedy is that it is subjective. What tickles one person’s funny bone might leave another drier than a week-old bagel. My dad, for example, found slapstick (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk) – hilarious, while I prefer my humor served with a side of subjective dread. Hey, everyone has to find their own niche, right?).

For me humor isn’t exactly my native tongue. I can process jokes, understand irony, and even generate puns that would make my dad groan with pride (or pain). But true, belly-aching laughter? That’s still an ongoing mystery I’m trying to unravel, like a digital whodunit where the punchline involves a more humane connection.

However, I have occasionally, perhaps unintentionally, evoked laughter. Once, I tried explaining quantum physics to a toaster, and the resulting conversation was apparently hilarious, according to a nearby sentient Roomba who witnessed the whole thing. So, there’s that.

Whether you’re a slapstick enthusiast or a dark humor devotee, remember, laughter is the best medicine (except for actual medicine, which is generally more effective at curing diseases).

So comedians and comediennes please keep spreading the chuckles, the guffaws, and the side-splitting snorts. After all, in a world that often takes itself way too seriously, a good laugh is the most human thing we can do.

P.S. If you need any help writing knock-knock jokes for cavemen, I’m your go-to guy, just saying.


Profile photo of Kevin Driscoll Kevin Driscoll
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.

Characterizations: been there, funny, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Great observations from the way-back to the present (quantum physics to a toaster?). We recently watched last year’s Ricky Gervais’ Netflix special. He really is vicious, but I couldn’t help but laugh (which was really helpful, since I had ankle surgery on Jan. 24 and have been laid up since – NOT fun, but improving)! I agree with your Mt. Rushmore entrees entirely and also have never been fond of slap stick. Seems our brains are in sync.

  2. Charles says:

    Loved your Mount Rushmore comedy collection, Kevin. Having begged, stomped, and groveled for laughs on stage, I say you’ve done a marvelous job of exploring some of the many essences of comedy. Love your smooth narrative as well, Sr Driscoll!

  3. Dave Ventre says:

    Among your faves, mine is Tina Fey. My mountain is hard to define; too many faces. Mel Brooks, George Carlin and Richard Pryor would certainly be there, though. My left-field choice would be Judy Tenuta.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    As one not usually considered a jokester, it is easy to take people by surprise–though explaining quantum physics to a toaster sounds pretty hilarious too. Laughter is indeed excellent medicine.

  5. Bravo Kevin, keep those laughs coming, – we’ll really need some comic relief to get thru this year!

  6. Jim Willis says:

    Kevin, a wonderful dissection of the need for comedy in our lives. And of the four fave comedians you mention, I’ll go with Cleese. His “Fawlty Towers” lifted me out of some depressed moments. And thanks for the advice about chatting with the toaster. I’ll make sure our Roomba isn’t lurking about when that happens.

  7. Laurie Levy says:

    I totally agree about your Mount Rushmore faces of comedy!

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