Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Why comedy?

January 18, 2013

I have a few upcoming events … um … coming up. I will be discussing my book, “Below Average Genius,” at the Bethel Park Public Library Wednesday at 7 p.m., and a few days later, Saturday, Jan. 26, at 12:30 p.m., I will be discussing the same book at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie. At both libraries, I will talk about comedy and how to craft a joke. I also will encourage everyone to get a library card (seriously, run to your local library and get one today!).

I hope talking about humor will be humorous; sometimes explaining how to write a joke can be as deadly as explaining a joke. Ever have to explain a joke to a kid? It’s exhausting.

“Wait. You’re a talking orange?”

“No. I’m saying ‘orange’ instead of ‘aren’t you’ as in ‘Orange you going to open the door?’”

A child looks up at you with wide, bright eyes and says, “I don’t get it.”

“Let’s try this again. I say ‘knock-knock,’ and you say, ‘Who’s there?’”

“Why do I have to say that?”

My hair was coming out in clumps.

But, once again, I digress. Because of the aforementioned upcoming events, I’ve been interviewed by two journalists and a librarian. It’s been great publicity, but, oddly enough, all three of them have asked the same question: Why comedy? Are mystery writers asked, “Why mystery?” I don’t know. It’s a mystery to me. I will write a mystery novel and get back to you on that.

Why comedy? I want to say, why not? I think the world is taken seriously way too much. I mean, have you looked around? The world is full of serious subjects. Cast your eye upon other sections of this newspaper, and you will understand my pain.

When I was a little kid, I went to the funeral of my Aunt Eleanor. It was the first funeral I remembered. I loved this woman. She was always smiling, always laughing. I remember getting angry in the funeral parlor because everyone was joking around and having a good time. Someone I loved was gone, and everyone was laughing. It pissed me off. It took me a while, but I learned that laughing is how we cope with loss. It’s how we cope with everything. It’s a great mechanism for handling bad and frustrating situations. It’s a great tool, and we need to pull it out of our emotional toolbox more often.

I used to be an angry guy. I’d get angry over everyday situations. Once, I got a flat tire and I was infuriated. It was just a flat tire. It happens to everyone, except pedestrians. I could rail against God and the universe and scream, “Why!?” That gets old really fast. No one wants to hang out with the angry guy.

Now, I call Triple A and say, “The good news is … three of my wheels are perfectly fine!”

And that’s why comedy. Come out and see me. If you don’t laugh with me, you can laugh at me.



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