So I wrote a joke this morning. Actually, I “thought of” a joke. “Wrote” makes it sound like I sat a desk. Like I take joke writing so seriously that I clock in to do it. In reality, I was in this half-awake, half-asleep state when I thought of the joke and I thought it was hilarious. But now…I just don’t know.
I wanted to post the joke on Facebook this morning but I stopped myself because, you know, what if it’s not funny? And the more I think about it, the more I’m absolutely sure it’s not funny. I mean, part of me thinks it’s brilliant in the way it taps into modern day annoyances and draws on our collective childhood nostalgia. But then another part of me thinks that it’s not quite obvious enough. It relies on the listener making a connection and I’m not entirely sure he/she will make that leap.
Then again, it’s a joke that came from real life. I was grocery shopping and I had to text my wife and this irritating thing happened and I’m sure it’s something everyone can relate to. So why aren’t I more confident about this? I make jokes all the time. It’s a consistent irritant to my friends and family. What’s one more failed joke? I’m forty-seven years old and I have wisdom that comes with middle-age and the ability to not give a shit what anyone thinks. But at the same time, I know when I’m on Facebook and I read a joke that doesn’t quite work, I think to myself “Poor guy. If only he had phrased it differently, it might have worked.”
That’s another thing. I’ve been perseverating about this joke and trying to rephrase it in my mind. It’s a lot of information to cram into a single joke and if one word is in the wrong place, the joke will land flat. So far, I’ve come up with three different ways to tell the joke and I’m not sure what the best way is yet. It’s highly possible there is no best way. In fact, the more I think about it…this is a really bad joke.
So why do I care if people think it’s funny or not? This is what artists do, right? They put stuff out there and if it fails, it fails. What’s important is that we’re always taking risks. But this goes back to regret – regret that I didn’t invest in comedy more in my 20s, for one thing. Why didn’t I take classes at Second City? I mean I was right there in Chicago when Tina Fey and Adam McKay were there. Why did I have to feel like I was a “serious actor?”
And lets face it, the older you get, the less inclined people are to think you’re funny. You’re viewed as being out of touch or, worse yet, “corny.” I just don’t want to be one of those guys yukkin’ it up at age sixty and get laughs out of pity.
But you know what? Screw it. I’m going to write down the joke and let the chips fall where they may. This is about risk. This is about confidence. Success and failure are illusions. This is about life. Here is the joke:
Wile E. Coyote stopped sending text messages because everyone thought he was constantly complaining about his acne. #fuckautocorrect.