Monday, August 17, 2009

Humour Basic Re-Visited

I posted this back in March, but because it didn't really fit as a column I didn't send it to the paper.

I may at some point, but it still sort of lingers, looking for a home.

Anyway it has been polished up some so I decided to post it and see what you think. Cheers.

Humour Basic

“Drop and give me fifty punch lines!”

I was in agony. The Drill Editor at Humor Basic Training had singled me out for extra punishment for not remembering a particularly witty Robert Benchley line. I began typing furiously while my nemesis continued barking orders…

“Right! Johnson! Take “F” Troupe and assault that boardroom with one-liners. Make every rimshot count - make your own ammo if you’re running low”

“Bravo Channel! Your mission is to undermine the executives over there with snide remarks during their presentation, followed by a barrage of stupid questions at the Q and A afterwards.”

“Can we use rapid fire?”

“Negative! Sniping only. And - take no prisoners. Move out.”

Life at hoot camp was hell. It either made you funny, or left you nothing but a useless humour simile – a pair of shoes dangling from a power line on the road to comedy glory.

Raw recruits, we were the class clowns and smart-alecks, the wise-cracking fools who joined up for adventure or a possible trade.

Training was hard and we learned how to use all the tools at our disposal.

Weapons like Zinger missiles, which we fired indiscriminately into meetings or crowds. Zingers were effective for close-in engagements, but for larger battles of wits we’d call in heavy weapons from the First Humoured Division. The big hartillery. Sarcasm. Irony. Innuendo.

We found and used WMD’s - Weapons of Mass Distribution. Newspaper columns. Long range blog posts. Wacky morning radio broadcasts.

We learned how to protect ourselves from vile puns, how to sneak terms like ‘buttocks,’ ‘barf,’ or ‘dog scooties’ into our written material for use in titter ambushes or banquet-sized guffawltercations.

Sabotage techniques like the fake office memo were employed, or the idiotic survey inserted into the new office training manual.

The hardest tests were reserved for those going for the elite of the elite. The peak of the hilarity industrial complex: The Special Har Service Regiment.

SHS Selection began with dinner parties and social engagements. Seemingly placid environments, in reality they were vicious humour battlefields, filled with ambushes and sniping. Verbal minefields.

Brutally difficult and exhausting, applicants were dismissed for the slightest infraction. No wit, sloppy aim, ill-remembered lines from when SNL was still funny – you name it. Anything could trip you up and send you back to barracks, where so called ‘wit’ was limited to bodily function jokes and making the fart sound with armpits. Foot-in-mouth casualties were common.

Our obstacle course was stained by the sweat of comrades whose wits were not quite as rapier-like as their opponents. More than one predecessor had flunked for lack of a timely remark about the shape of his cocktail weenie.

This was not the place for inter-office Top 10 Lists or viral emails. This is serious funny business. This is humor on the front lines – the pointy end of the wit stick.

“Company!” the Drill Editor bellowed, startling me out of my reverie.

“This morning, we are honored by the presence of Colonel Popcorn of the Benny Hill Battalion, whose lecture on Irony entitled ‘Editors Really are Improving Your Work,’ will commence at 0900 hours, 0930 in Newfoundland.”

“This will be followed by banana cream pies at 1200 hours, after which you will pick up long 2 by 4’s and march comically to the lecture hall for a video titled ‘Slapstick and Other Uses for Politicians’ until lights out.”

“Tomorrow you will undergo a rigorous 10 minute stand-up routine in full Groucho Marx kit with no sneezing from the fuzzy moustache! Quit your grumbling back there!”

“Fools Company! Dis-missed!”

Net Still More Further Updateness: I sent this to the paper after all and they printed it! Will wonders never cease?

1 comment:

P Shane McAfee said...

Great minds think alike.