Yesterday I read a Facebook post from a comedian I respect. His name is Ben Katzner and among other shows I’m sure, he hosts an open mic night (with fellow comedian Mike Lester on Wednesday nights at Dulono’s Pizza in Minneapolis- check them out!). He presented his dilemma of is it ok to be laughing and making jokes when there is so much tragedy going on in our world right now. He linked a great article published by the NY Daily Times on the repulsive situation with Alton Sterling.
And then, this morning, I read about Philando Castile. In our neighborhood. Our backyard.
I’ve often wrestled with the question: Is there anything too serious to be joked about? And I’ve gone back and forth with my answers. Of course! People dying of cancer? Rape? Racism? You can’t joke about that stuff- it’s not funny.
But can it be? I don’t know. I have heard (and laughed) about a lot of serious shit. You can’t take life too seriously… no one’s getting out alive. Lighten up. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and “it’s all small stuff”.
As a comedian myself, I feel like it’s my job to make people laugh. Take away their misery, even for a short period of time…
Then, life continues to happen.
I miscarried in April (I think, technically speaking, that’s what they’re calling it but it wasn’t a miscarriage to me. He was fully formed. I saw him and felt him… Named him, loved him, made plans around his arrival including moving so we’d have another bedroom for a nursery). My sister died of a drug overdose in May. I have been able to joke about those things, gallows humor it’s called. Not because I think it’s funny or because I don’t want to be serious but because I will lose my fucking mind it all I think about is the devastation I feel.
I hate to think that any of this is race related but I cannot afford to be color blind at this point. There are far too many casualties to waive off as coincidence.
I remember being proud to say “I don’t see color”, we are all the same. It doesn’t matter. The truth is, it SHOULDN’T matter. We should all be the same, I mean, we are on the inside…
And, at the risk of serious backlash, I dare say- I don’t think it’s ALL a race problem. It’s a power struggle too. It’s police, armed with guns and a superiority complex that need to be addressed too. Blacks are not the only ones who suffer injustice at the hands of the people trusted to “protect and serve” us but they certainly seem to be the main focus right now.
So, is it okay for you to laugh?
I’ll leave that up to you.
In the meantime, I will try to continue to make people laugh, though I will steer clear of the tragedy occuring today.
What do you think? Am I onto something? Am I way off base? Let me know what you think in the comments below!