I wish I could collect jokes like some people collect art.
There’s this bit in the IT Crowd where Roy keeps being mistaken for a window cleaner. It’s just the perfect balance between clever and zany and I want to appreciate it further than laughing.
Laughing is the only reaction to comedy, but not all comedy is created equal.
Some jokes are cheap. Toilet humour. Slapstick. These still serve a purpose, they might still make you laugh. But they don’t stay with you.
Other jokes are well crafted. Hilarious, but also clever. There’s more to them than just a quick laugh.
There’s an episode of Miranda where she pretends to go to Thailand but just goes to the hotel down the road. She has a great routine about hotel rooms and how exciting it is to have a kettle in the room. You’d never have one in your bedroom at home, she says, that would be weird. But in a hotel, it’s a treat! This scene perfectly displays her blend of physical and intellectual comedy. I want to own it.
It’s probably because I’m materialistic. I’m also selfish and possessive of things or people I love. I want them to be mine.
It’s not the words I want, or the visual. A quote or a gif won’t do. I want the joke itself converted into a material object so I can have it.
Not even one-liners can be captured.
“I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious” is funny, but it’s not the whole joke without Steve Carell’s perfect delivery.
You can buy records and DVDs and paintings and sculpture. I want to buy jokes. I don’t want the script or a still or even the actors, what I want is Troy and Abed from Community on my shelf, delivering dialogue to me. I can show them off to my friends and be like “Feel free to laugh at my joke.”
The closest thing I can think of is to try to come up with my own jokes. At least then I can claim some sort of ownership. I despair, though, because I know I’ll never be as brilliant as Monty Python.
“You must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest… with… a herring!”
I want it.