Why is Awkward Funny ... and Painful?

Do you wonder why people laugh?

Sometimes, we laugh to relieve tension.  A lot of comedy involves creating tension, then breaking it.  That's why TV shows like The Office or Modern Family generate laughs ... they're "painfully funny."

But I struggle with this type of humor ... to the consternation of some of my friends.  Why do I feel so uncomfortable when a fictional character suffers for our amusement?

I'm susceptible to stories.  I get drawn in easily, establish connections with characters and squirm when they're tortured for comedic effect.

This is one of the reasons I love stand-up comedy: you don't develop rapport with stand-up characters and act-outs.  The same goes for sketch comedy and improv.  Characters cycle through too rapidly to develop a connection deep enough to hurt for them while they make everyone else laugh.

And, although my weakness generates friendly banter, my story-susceptibility can be an asset for God's work.  Perhaps it's the price-of-entry I pay to access the worlds offered through fiction.  Perhaps it's how God keeps me tender and compassionate toward the stories I hear on campus.

Our weaknesses and vulnerabilities and susceptibilities often show up as the shadow sides of our strengths.  I flinch during sitcoms, but care quickly for strangers.  There's a gift attached to that pain.

What gifts do you have hiding behind your weaknesses?

1 comment:

  1. Steve,
    Keep writing. I really appreciate the things you are saying, and the heart behind what I hear you saying. Thank you for the time you take to write.