A few years ago a church reached out to me to do some comedy which I was totally great with doing. Some clients want straight funny, some funny & generically impactful & yet others want funny, impactful & very personal. I can do any. I can do all. I am great with whatever. Corporate Event, Fashion Show, Hebrew Temple Fundraiser. I’m down. A working speaker serves the interest of the client. Period. We serve at your behest. Colleen keeps my calendar and her 15-point survey uncovers your precise desires.
So the committee came to another gig I had where I had filled the client’s request of both funny then serious. The church wanted to bless the community with laughter as well as encourage the women in their faith through my story of surviving loss. I thankfully hit the marks and got great feedback on my humor as well as story. (Something which really matters to me)
After seeing me in action, the requesting committee then sent Colleen an email outlining concerns which stopped me in my tracks when I read. They were concerned about me just being funny. Could you just do comedy? We love your story but can you just be upbeat? Which I had already assured them I could.
“And we just do not want our women to think that anything like this could happen to them. We just want them to laugh.”
We do not want them to think that this is something that could happen to them? I completely get that they just wanted to laugh. Which again I have zero problem with. I can do just funny. But she would hate women’s ladies night to be ruined by the thought that something tragic could happen to them.
It is not lost on me that I am a comic by trade who has been through some not so hysterical times. Many comedians honed humor as a defense mechanism against the world’s arrows, be they criticism, poverty, bullying or just Garden-variety pain. I always loved the gift that humor has been in my life: a true pressure valve that released stress and allowed the fresh air that proved vital to my soul’s survival.
When George Clooney entered the ninth grade he was far from the sexiest man alive. He had a paralyzing Palsey his first semester of high school. In discussing the awkwardness of walking the halls, looking as though he were a stroke victim, he recently told David Letterman on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction that “That’s where the funny comes from.”
If a kid is quick enough the humor will come at the moment they need it most.
What also comes at us is life. We will all suffer. If we think that we are immune, we are in grave danger. The fact that life is random should liberate us not terrify us into a sheltered existence. As much as we seek to avoid discomfort, we were made for it. We can adapt to even the most horrible circumstances such as running out of Kuerig Pods and that awesome sugar-free creamer that makes us ecstatically happy.
Florida has gripped us as a nation. I feel it in my bones. There is a time to laugh and a time to mourn according to Ecclesiastes. The fact is that I think about those children being physically obliterated by a semi-automatic weapon and it makes me sick. This could be your child’s school. It could be mine. There actually was a campus lock-down this Fall at Texas Tech when a student gunman killed a police officer and fled. That chilled me.
We are at a crossroads and have to decide if we will bury our heads in Pinterest and all the beautiful little projects of our lives or we will confront the very ugly reality of the availability of semi-automatic weapons and fight to change that. It certainly will take so much more than that but when we consider that our children could be next it is action which has GOT to happen.
I keep envisioning a hostage situation with an armed perpetrator and authorities saying, “Throw down your weapon. Hand over your gun” This is what needs to happen first. There is so much work to be done with those intent on harming themselves and others but we have got to take that primary step.
No one is asking for hunting rifles. God have mercy. No police state is going to go door to door collecting weapons. We are simply saying that as parents lets ban assault weapons used in the past mass shootings in our country. It could happen.