Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Goodbye, George Carlin

George Carlin was a comedian who gave me lots of laughs over the years. He was one of the first ones who could just take examples from everyday life that could make us ask questions about ourselves and take a look at our lives while making us laugh. Very much in the tradition of the old court jesters.

Comedians up until the time of Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and a few others relied on old format jokes that began with lines like "So two guys walk into a bar...." And I used to laugh over a lot those old fashioned jokes too. But then, about the 1960s, comedians started to expand the subject matter for what could make us laugh.

The reason that kings and queens used to keep court jesters is that there was always wisdom within their entertainment, only it didn't feel like the audience was being lectured because of the presentation. Jesters could say things that other people in court might be afraid to say.

This is useful for us to remember too. It is often easier for us to make a point with others through the use of humor. People who can do it are valued. When we look at contemporary literature, how many authors can make us laugh while we read? Not so many as there are serious authors, are there? And out of all the comedians, how many a so good that you always look for new recordings or shows that include them?

Humor is the finely tuned sense of gifted storytellers. Of the modern authors, ones that come to mind are Tom Robbins and Kurt Vonnegut. Of the modern comedians, beside George Carlin, I like Ron White, Chris Rock, older Robin Williams and Steve Martin routines, and I am trying to think of others. Humor is a great gift, and we will miss George Carlin, and welcome the new talent that he opened the door for.

This is why I frequently use humor, whether it is in my day job, or my my reading, healing and teaching work. Cracking a joke is a way to relieve pressure and help a person who might be overwhelmed or frustrated to lighten up just enough to see things from another perspective. And that little lightning strike, or perhaps even just a giggle or a smile, of an opening could be enough to change the mood and bring lightheartnedness and relief to someone in pain or distress.

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