Comedy is an art form that when done by master talent makes us think as well as laugh. And to pull that off, it means the comic is going to push boundaries beyond what is socially acceptable, because what’s usually funny is making fun of our own hypocrisy. Nothing is funnier than talking about the white elephant in the room, particularly if you are part of the white elephant or are related to one or work with one or live with one. And in today’s society, white men are the whitest of the white elephants. Rich white men, poor white men and everything in between, we are clomping around with our heads up our collective asses not realizing that things would get better if we just started laughing at ourselves a little bit.
It’s why I think Dave Chappelle is brilliant and a genuine artist. Dave Chappelle is one of the few people in today’s world beyond Donald Trump, who says what he wants to say regardless of the political consequences. The difference between Dave Chappelle and Donald Trump in my mind, is at the core of Chappelle’s monologues and jokes is empathy and humanity and at the core of Donald’s Twitter feed is willful ignorance and anger. Chappelle is one of the few people who walked away, no darn near ran away from what other people deemed success and had the courage to walk his own path, write his own jokes, say what he wanted to say, knowing somebody was gong to take offense, no matter what he did. In fact, I’ll go one step further, some people were going to be outraged. That’s what the internet and social media has done. It has democratized outrage. Anyone can find a way to be outraged about anything and if you look hard enough you will find a meme that expresses your outrage perfectly.
I like Dave Chappelle. I enjoy his art. I think he is funnier than shit. I hope he keeps on writing jokes that make us uncomfortable. Let’s laugh at this mess we find ourselves and hope that laughter lets something go deep inside our collective ignorance or shame and move on. Let’s laugh at ourselves, each other and the silliness that is the human experience. Chappelle is so talented that it is inevitable that a hoard of people are going to be pissed off by something he says because most people can’t take the stick out of their ass long enough to realize not everything Dave says is what he believes. Its a joke. And people write jokes, just like people write poetry to push boundaries, to experience aspects of the human condition in their imagination that might not be their full reality. That’s what’s fun about imaginations, if we use them, we get to try different ideas and play around.
There are many controversies that surround comedy these days because apparently now in society we are only allowed to laugh at clean, politically correct jokes that are family PG friendly. Like the Peanuts cartoon. Which is why I hate and have always hated the Peanuts cartoon because I never found it funny. The Peanuts cartoon violates my first principle of art – I find it boring. I do not find Dave Chappelle boring. I find him captivating, funny and genuinely complicated. The controversies that surround David Chappelle illustrate that if you take words out of context and drill in deep, you can scapegoat anyone. Then again, if we are honest with ourselves, each and every one of us says something stupid once in a while that taken in context and if you drill in deep we deserve to be scapegoated. Its just that most of us are not famous enough for anyone to give a shit about the stupid stuff we say. None of us are perfect.
I have a little secret to reveal about people that write sonnets. Writing sonnets is not the serious business that people that don’t write sonnets think it is. Humor abounds in Shakespeare if you stop reading it with your nose in the air. I have a feeling Shakespeare was like most other poets, (I am being gender inclusive here), that if they are brutally honest, will admit, they wrote most of that shit hoping to get laid. Oh and bare their beautiful soul to the world too. Phoey. I think most people who write sonnets do it because its fun, its how we entertain ourselves. We write because we want to. We write because we hope to get laid. It’s all the same thing.
Lest you think that I only write serious things in church, I thought I would share my first and only limerick sonnet. I wrote this right before church and shared it with my Mom after the service. This is one of those times where the words wrote themselves. It just flowed. What’s funny about this sonnet is it doesn’t read like a sonnet, even though the rhyming scheme and the syllable count is mostly correct, it flows if you read it out loud more like a silly poem. And I want everyone to know, that just like Dave Chappelle, everything in this sonnet is a joke and not to be taken seriously because what is in this sonnet is not how I truly feel. But the reason my Mom laughed is because hiding in plain sight in the joke was a modicum of truth. And for those of you that would like to use this as your opportunity to scapegoat me in my very own #metoo moment for being politically incorrect and insensitive, I would like you to know, I am still married.
By T. A. Fry
Starving in a wasteland of affection,
I have come to forgiveness bye and bye.
For celibacy is not an affliction,
It is a condition made lonelier by,
the contract between husband and wife.
It’s not easy to leave your child’s mother,
after 32 long years of life.
I found love in the arms of another,
and with her passion’s no longer a stranger.
I would never approach divorce lightly,
It has emotional turmoil and danger,
But when sex is this fabulous nightly,
Saying “Go fuck yourself,” is a no brainer.
I’ll gladly put up both lawyers retainers.