March 7, 2016 by readlisaread
I was thinking about humour recently, the types and styles of humour that I love (biting satire), like (childish though not scatological), and hate (pranks and practical joke, especially when designed to make the victim look foolish, frightened or desperate)
And yet, I will take any opportunity to point out and make fun of my own flaws and self-perceived shortcomings. What is that strange bent most of us have to be the butt of our own jokes?
It was the comedienne Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project) that got me pondering this whole concept. In both “The Office” and her self-titled show, she plays a similar sort of character. Smart enough in social ways, yet completely lacking in self awareness, sassy, brassy, yet afraid of spiders, being single, and facing the reality of her physique.
I can’t think of a comedienne in her own show who didn’t play the goofball that crazy things happened to despite her having a heart of gold. Lucille Ball, Roseanne Barr, Carol Burnett, Ellen Degeneres, Fran Drescher, Mary Tyler Moore…. there are more, but these ladies come to mind as having played the strong female lead, albeit hapless; goofy but lovable; smart but naive. In other words, you would willingly laugh at their antics, but always you laughed with them, gently, being able to relate to their whacky misadventures (“That’s just like me!!”). What Kaling does looks similar on the surface, but she shines a strong light on dark places– her characters are self-absorbed narcissists, to whom “bad” things happen because of their own lack of attention, self-awareness and empathy for others. It’s suddenly less safe to laugh at her, because you want to be a little bit like her…. don’t you?
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