They say laughter is the best medicine. That's not just some phrase. I think it's entirely too true. My recent posts have focused on overcoming adversity of some sort in times when life just flat out sucks. Sometimes life can be flat out funny though, and those moments often help us through the sucky times far more than any inspirational quotes or old lady wisdom ever could. I'm of the belief that two of life's strongest bonds are a shared taste in music and a shared sense of humor. This post focuses on the latter.
I'm so very privileged to have had some truly funny people in my life. Many of my friendships started or took off over shared laughs. Early on in high school while most guys were awkwardly hitting on girls, my friends and I were awkwardly hitting on girls and doing stupid stuff like this:
Why? Because it was funny. This video and others made its way around our high school in the form of a shared VHS before the days of YouTube, and it brought lots of joy to people.
Later in life I landed a job at the Lakeshore Theater in Chicago, which was an alt-comedy venue that served as a safe harbor for the edgiest, weirdest and often funniest comedy you couldn't find elsewhere. The place was amazing while it lasted. Its stage hosted so much talent and really gave me a deep appreciation for comedy as an art form. While having the pleasure of watching and meeting amazing comics like Louis CK, Robin Williams, Janeane Garofalo, Brian Posehn, Jamie Kilstein, Greg Giraldo, Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Doug Stanhope, Jim Jeffries (p.s that's me at 1:26 of that video grabbing that one dude so he didn't kill the other dude), Mike DeStefano (R.I.P.) and others, I was equally impressed with the local standup I would encounter there nightly.
I instantly became a fan of Hannibal Buress, Cameron Esposito, Jena Friedman, Tony Blanco, Ken Barnard, Dan Telfer, Prescott Tolk, James Fritz, Junior Stopka, Paul Thomas, Joe Kwaczala, Big Dog Eat Child and so many more. It was a pleasure watching these people hone their craft in front of crowds big and small, friendly and dickish. It was ever enlightening drinking with them at Brendan's Pub and drunkenly wandering down the street to Melrose Diner for some late night/early morning grub and more stories and laughter.
It's no surprise to me that many of the names I listed and so many others I'm omitting are still doing comedy with great success. I tear up a bit watching venue owner Chris Ritter's farewell speech because I know the venue was capable of so much more, but I also realize how much it meant for so many people in such a short period of time.
But this wasn't supposed to be a heavy hearted post. It's Friday. You working stiffs are almost home free for the week and that much closer to drink o'clock. I imagine certainly in need of a good laugh at this point in the week, though. So here's a playlist I've curated of some of the great comedy (standup, improv & sketch) I've gotten to experience in my life. Hopefully it brings as much a smile to your face as it does mine.