Friday, August 15, 2014

Being the Comic Relief

In the wake of Robin Williams' death a lot of people have brought up the idea that comedians are often very sad, lonely people on the inside. I don't know how true that is, but I do have a story of a sad, lonely kid who, desperate to find a personality, decided that he would be the "comic relief."

It was a long time before I found friends of my own in school. I had a couple of friends early on that were a grade ahead of me, but I don't think I made a real, lasting friendship until 5th grade. Even then, I was still mostly ignored, ostracized, or actively picked on my most kids until... I guess 10th grade?

Anyway, being rejected from the only society I knew was pretty painful.

In the 7th and 8th grades I was watching a lot of Dragon Ball Z thanks to Toonami on Cartoon Network. While most everyone else seemed to grow attached to Goku, Piccolo, or Gohan, my favorite character was Krillin. He wasn't the strongest, the smartest, or the coolest, but he made me laugh. In short (heh), this was a guy I could relate to. The only thing I needed to do was figure out how to make people laugh!

Unfortunately (?) I never really got the hang of comedy. The best I could muster was self-deprecating humor, which at best just made me very unthreatening to others. It didn't make me a more interesting or well-liked person, so in the end I had to come to terms with myself another way. Luckily, at some point I found acceptance by being a hard-working, sincere person, which is a pretty okay identity to settle on. They're also qualities that aren't held in terribly high regard by 7th graders.

Still, that goofy, self-deprecating humor has stuck with me all this time. I've never once considered myself a comedian, but I can recognize a time when going down that path was a real desire of mine; one which would have definitely been a defense mechanism, erecting a wall between my peers and the person I considered to be my self. I wonder how differently my life would have gone if I had gone down that path?

To be honest, often being the "hard-working, sincere" guy is not enough for me. I regularly wish I was a more interesting person who possesses some skill, wit, or wisdom beyond what I have.

What I don't always remember is that, when I get like that, the best thing to do is to start working on making that wish a reality. Becoming more talented, intelligent, or funnier takes time and effort. If it matters that much to me, it's up to me to do something about it.

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