Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Humour (or 'humor' if you are in the US) is a funny thing! I have always marvelled that what is funny to one person is not at all funny to another. 

Last week I went to see the wonderful (and weepingly funny) Jimmy Carr at a gig he did here in Aylesbury. His style of comedy (a mix, I guess, of observational and semantic humour) is, to me, the funniest in the world. Mrs Acular isn't quite the same, though I could appreciate why some of the jokes may not appeal to a person in her line of work. There were times when I couldn't breathe for laughing while she sat there stony faced. 

Another person that makes me laugh a huge amount is Billy Connolly. His humour revolves around diatribes and stories, and his punch-lines are normally one level or another of invective, but cry I do. Bill Bailey is also very funny, but for different reasons. At the gig I once saw, he used music to comedy effect and it was hilarious. 

As I sat, a couple of lagers on board, suffocating in my full appreciation of Jimmy Carr, I did have a moment of conscience. You may have gathered that I am something of a Christian, a church-goer if you like. I do the whole God thing and I know a little bit of the Bible. Some of Jimmy's jokes were cruel and not suitable for this blog, but I still found them funny. There topics of humour in his performance that, were I sitting behind this computer, I would be upset by, and would be writing strong words - yet in a theatre with a comedian, they were the stuff of my laughter. (I ought to confess here and now, that Acts 20: 9 causes me to laugh out loud every time I hear it - it is about the funniest thing in print). I am not a bad person. In fact I think I am a good person. I think the same of Jimmy, Billy and Bill - nice people the lot of them. It is interesting what makes us laugh. What is appropriate for a Christian to laugh at?

I partly worry that a little of the Christian psyche is to shun humour. There are times when churches feel like the edifices of the Venerable Jorge of Burgos (he thought laughter to be a sin, a 'devilish wind'). If only Christians could laugh at themselves just a little more, I am sure that the church would live longer (note to Doc Richmond of press fame).

The world is a very funny place if you let that side of life in. No greater source of fun and laughter is to be found in our household than the children. Only yesterday, when looking at a napkin, one of the Twins Aculae comments that it was a "large wanky" (we knew what she meant, of course). The wife and I died thrice, and our laughter only fuelled the girls' mirth. That amused us all for an hour, with a little staged repetition from daddy to stoke that fire. The girls laughed at our amusement, we laughed at a funny word. Only the day before (and given the end of term), the same Acularic Twin tried to pronounce "certificate" - the best effort resulting in "squiffy fuck" (no, really). I nearly crashed the car. Indeed, if one of the cherubs is in mid tantrum, I need only say a Rowan Atkinson-esque "bottom" and the moment is neutralised unto smirks and giggle. 

For me, life would be nothing without humour. Life without near-400 children yelling "GOOD AFTERNOON FARVAH DAVID" at assembly is as naught. I understand that laughter induces a chemical release which does us good. Perhaps churches should add themselves to the comedy tour circuits, who knows. 


  1. Amen to all of that! Laughter is the only thing that keeps me going at the moment. There were times when I flinched a little when we saw Jimmy Carr, but I cannot deny he is a very funny man! It is also nice to know there are some Christian comedians who I can always have a giggle with when in the company of those I do not know so well - Tim Vine, Milton Jones and Andy Kind - have seen them all live and laughed my socks off.

  2. I have to say that the cruel streak in much of Jimmy Carr's (and Frankie Boyle's) comedy puts me off, even though they can both be very funny. I prefer Dara O'Briain and (having spent 16 years in Liverpool) John Bishop. I also concur with Jane's comments about Tim Vine and Milton Jones.



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