We professional humorists never forget where we were when we said something which tickled our own funny bone. Par example (and don’t be put off by my suddenly lapsing into French, I spent four days there on a teen tour and so you can understand why I don’t even notice anymore when I use the French instead of English)… Um, where was I?
Oh yes. What I was saying is that for the professional humorist, a conversation with a fellow human being can be a wondrous chance to say something funny, which then you will never forget, even if you forget the context, which might have been something grave or dire to the other person. Or you might forget the other person. For example (wait, did I do it again? Mais non, I didn’t. Phew!), they might be talking about the death of their mother, and you might make a hilarious Whistler’s Mother joke. Or they might be discussing a break up and you might use that opportunity to check your voice mail. Or they might be talking about ducks and you would make a joke about orange juice. And then you would remember the orange juice, but not what ducks are.
Allow me to tell you about last night. Are you sitting down? You’ll want to be standing up for this.
So a friend was talking about the idea of a theater which served soup. Naturally I asked what kind. “Broth,” was the answer. “Bouillon?” I asked, proud of my extensive knowledge of clear soups. “Probably some water with a couple chicken bones thrown in,” he quipped. “OK so what you’re really talking about is stock,” I parried, coolly. And then it hit me: “You should serve the soup in the summer!” I shrieked, also coolly. “You could call it… SUMMER STOCK!”
“That’s terrible,” he said, as if deliberately dodging my speeding humor bullet. No worries though, I was armed with a humor fusillade (a fusillade is when you shoot someone with a continuous spray of fusilli).
“You could call it… SUMMER STOCK!” I announced again, in between cartwheels. “Oh, come on!” I intoned, balancing one foot on the head of a sea lion. “SUMMER STOCK!” I yelled, shooting myself out of a cannon. “You know, because it’s summer and you’re serving stock, and it’s a theater!” I explained, because sometimes the little people need your help and also I had extra time while waiting for the trapeze swing to return to me.
“You know… like… SUMMER STOCK!” I yodeled, coolly, from inside the snapping jaws of a crocodile.
“Oh yeah, because what people want in the summer is hot soup,” he offered.
“Fine, then just serve gazpacho and don’t use the clever theater pun,” I said ruefully, mounting a tortoise and heading offstage.
Anyway though, I’ll always have “SUMMER STOCK!” which comes in a can and a handy snack pack and features macaroni thespians (chicken and “stars”… get it?) and also tiny comedy and drama masks made out of farina. It’s Broadway in a bowl, which might be the slogan, although it’s also The Catskills in a bowl and Peoria in a bowl and Branson in a giant bowl.