Half a dozen blog posts have come and gone in my brain since my last post about a month ago. Before I lose track of it, I want to write about the revelation I brought home from the Empower House benefit concert in Fredericksburg — which, by the way was a resounding success and a lovely evening.
For me, the only fly in the ointment was that nobody laughed during my first story. It’s the story that Jack calls “I Married a Bank Robber.” It’s real title is “Love, Honor, Cherish, and Obey.” It’s about how, in my early 20s, I did indeed marry a (paroled) bank robber. As I was working on the story, looking back 40 years, I thought it was pretty hilarious. So did the small circles of friends who listened and gave me feedback during its formative stages. It’s a pretty innocent Clueless Idealist Comes of Age story. No profanity. No “adult content.”
I intended for this piece and my Condom Wallet story to serve as buffers to soften the centerpiece of the program, “Just Another T. N. D.,” which is pretty intense. I thought I had a well-rounded playlist: humor, catharsis, hope. Except in the humor part of the program, nobody laughed. I didn’t read “offended” on anybody’s face (what was there to offend?); I didn’t see “bored.” I felt a strong connection to the audience, and when the story came to an end, the applause went well beyond “polite.” I just didn’t tickle anybody’s funny bone.
On the way home, I asked Jack what went wrong. He said, “It’s a good story, sweetie. You did fine. You’re just not a humorist. That’s all.”
Dang! I’ve always thought all you needed to do was decide to be funny, and if you put your mind to it — Ta Da! — it happened. Evidently not.