Saturday, January 14, 2006

Not Funny At All

An open letter to my friend:

Dear Friend,

I'll start off by thanking you for your friendship, because that's nice, and I like to be nice. So, thank you!

I'll also thank you for thinking I'm so great, because, like, I SO am! But I'm also an asshole, and some of the things that go on in my brain make me want to spank myself. Some of the things that go on in my brain which make me feel like an asshole pertain directly to you (but a lot of them pertain to me, so there ya go!)

Here's the thing. I know I'm funny. Ha-ha hee-hee funny. I was excellently surprised to learn that my funny, which was prevalent all my life in Canada, translates to Asia. I was funny in Canada, I was funny in Japan, and thankfully, I'm funny in Korea. Yep, funny. Me, funny.

However, you, not so much.

We have a language barrier, because you can speak some English, but I can't speak Korean well at all. We also have a cultural difference, and I try to lay off the jokey-jokes that I know might go off well back home, but simply don't translate here,(ie. "a hooker walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm, and a salami under the other,....")

I can't tell for sure, but I'm thinking you're not terribly funny in Korean, judging from our associates reaction to your schtick. I'll tell you for sure that you're DEFINITELY not funny in English. I'll give you an "A" for effort. You command attention to your jokes (oft by demanding "hey, look at me!" or speaking so loudly no one can HELP but listen to you!) and you do your best with the delivery, but I have to give you an EFF minus minus for the material.

Today, at the end of a long week, you put on your black jacket and interrupted a conversation I was having to say "Hey! Jenny! LOOK AT ME, I'm your CAT!"

You're not funny, my friend. I don't know why some people are funny, while many are not, but I just have to slot you in with the "NOT."

And you put me in an uncomfortable place: I don't want to laugh. I don't want to, because (again) you're not funny, hence laughter is not necessary. I also don't want to laugh because I don't want to encourage you. It's so easy to be naturally funny back at you, but because the humour that comes out of me is mean spirited, I end up feeling bad. You may not realize this, because of the language barrier, and because mine's a subtle put-down.

Lately, I've not been feeling well, and my fuse has been kind of short. So when you're failing at being funny, I usually just look at you blankly. Or smile weakly. Then you think I didn't understand your joke, so you re-iterate. This hurts me twice.

It's painful. It's all painful. I don't know what to do about it.
You get the opposite of Ha-ha from me, which, I guess, is Ah-ah. (As in "ah-ah, someone get me a tourniquet because the vein in my forehead has sprung a leak!)

Sincerely, Pained Me.

Seriously, anyone reading this,....what would you do? Have you ever had a friend who try as they might, just can't BE the funny?


Joel said...

There is nothing you can do. These people exist at home too. Despite your best efforts they just don't have the ability to gauge others' reactions. They don't feel the awkward silence that everyone else in the room does when they start to tell a joke or when it fails miserably.

Jelly said...

Hey Joel!
Yes, I know these people exist all over the world. I've been lucky i that my friends are either quite funny, or not terribly funny- yet don't TRY to be funny.
My friend here isn't utterly clueless, and recognizes when her lame jokes fall flat. Sometimes I roll my eyes or just look at her with my eyebrows raised. One redeeming quality she has, I've gotta say, is she will join in an after-laugh about how pathetic her humour is. At least she has a sense of humour about that!