I grew up in a home where Monty Python was a regular feature of our television viewing schedule. We also watched Are You Being Served, The Benny Hill Show and Fawlty Towers, among others. I’d think my Mother was addicted to British TV shows if we hadn’t also watched shows like the Carol Burnett Show, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, WKRP in Cincinnati and Taxi. We watched programs where we could giggle and see people being silly. The memories I have of laughing out loud with my Mom are some of the best memories I have.
Here is just a little bit of the Silly Walk sketch from Monty Python. I can still watch it and chuckle.
For American humor, here’s another one of my favorite bits from Taxi where Reverend Jim (played by Christopher Lloyd) is taking a written exam to get his taxi driver’s license. I laughed so hard at this one, and it’s become a favorite of my sons’, too.
Having such a silly viewing history, I find that we still prefer the silly to the serious today. My house usually has the television on – it’s just something we do to relax when the day’s chores and responsibilities are taken care of. Television was something that held my son’s attention when he was little and we were still learning how to deal with and live with Autism.
I have had classes during my college career that have discussed the evils of television viewing and how it makes kids violent and aggressive. I think it depends on what you are watching. If you are watching violent shows where people kill or maim each other or shows where forensics specialists are dissecting a crime scene and digging through all the graphic, violent details of someone’s death, then no, maybe your children should not be watching. In our house, we watch humor, and we laugh. We laugh a lot.
A current favorite at the moment are re-runs of Kevin James’ King of Queen sitcom. I don’t care so much for the episodes where they are bickering as a couple, but some of the slapstick humor that he did was hysterical. Here is a favorite bit where he is trying to whip himself into great physical shape in a short amount of time. Something that all of us who are attempting to lose weight know is impossible. It is a very slow process.
It doesn’t even have to be visual humor. Last night we were going through the various bird calls on my The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America CD. We came across a sound for a Barred Owl that does not sound like an owl. It sounded a bit like a dog at first. We got silly over that one, too. According to the book, their call is a, “Series of midpitched hoots sounding like, “Who cooks for you?”” I’m not sure whether that’s what he’s saying or not, but it sure sounds funny. I guess their call is so unusual they have scared people camping in the woods. They do sound sort of deranged.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of laughing so hard that you can’t breathe or laughing so hard that you are crying. I had that kind of upbringing. I shared a great sense of humor with my Mom. My Dad was a funny guy, too, but he used to just shake his head when my Mom and I got going. I also share that sense of humor with my cousin, Charlotte. We have lived in different states for more than half of our lives now, but when we do get together either on the phone, online or in person (not as often as I’d like, unfortunately), the humor is still there. It’s as if we had never been apart. We can still crack each other up. I am so very fortunate my sons are both funny guys, too. My older son has a louder, zanier sense of humor. My younger son has a very quick wit and will often come up with little zingers that just crack us up. Sometimes with him it isn’t even what he says but the way he says it. I love that we laugh together. It’s often what gets me through the day.
“We find it hard to believe that other people’s thoughts are as silly as our own, but they probably are” – James Harvey Robinson
The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Little, Brown and Company; October 25, 2010