Did You Get The Joke?

When parents don’t want to deal with their problematic kids, they sit them in front of the glowing wonder known as the television. Needless to say, I was a crazy child and was constantly watching TV shows. I have probably seen every episode of the golden age of Nickelodeon and Disney, which included shows such as All That, The Amanda Show, That’s So Raven, and so many others that are fundamental of a 90s child’s memories. The thing about kid channels is that all of the shows are comedies, or at least meant to be. Those sitcoms made me contemplate what comedy really is and how it works. I, and so many other kids my age, have unintentionally memorized whole episodes of dialogue and plot. Sometimes I would go to school and quote lines from my favorite shows (often adding my own commentary) and be overwhelmed by the laughter and happiness that I introduced to the room. I was especially surprised that I got the girl I liked to laugh. After the group of children dissimilated to resume their daily activities or finger painting and reading (and by that I mean just looking at the pictures), my crush came up to me and with a smile said, “You’re really funny.” It was in that moment that I realized that humor was a respected trait for a person to have in society. It was in that moment that I would realize what I wanted to be, an entertainer.

Saturday Night Live is a long running sketch comedy show that has been on since its premiere on October 11, 1975. It airs on Saturdays; it starts at night, and it’s live (pretty self- explanatory). Late night shows, such as this one, are usually aimed at adult audiences; therefore, the jokes are a little more risqué. I recall at a young age watching the show with my family and them laughing at some joke I didn’t understand. The joke itself is irrelevant; it was probably just Will Ferrell doing a satirical impersonation of George Bush, as he is very popular for. The next day I went to school and started saying “Hey, I’m President Bush” in the most redneck accent I could. Most of the kids in my class had actual redneck accents and didn’t understand the joke. I know for a fact that those grade schoolers probably didn’t get the humor in poking fun at the infamous President. After looking out at a sea of twenty pairs of young beady eyes glaring at me with blank faces, I was done quoting TV lines.

George Lopez and Gabriel Iglesias are both Mexican-American comedians that I grew up watching as well. If you are Hispanic, then you know that jokes in Spanish usually involve Spanish curse words. If those jokes were translated, kids in American schools would be scolded for repeating them in public. My best friend would often tell me such jokes (unfortunately I don’t remember any of them). He was a class clown of sorts and always had people laughing. Still, his jokes were usually at the expense of others. This got me thinking of the different types of humor. There is also the type of humor where the comedian’s jokes are at their own expense. For example, every single one of the long time Youtuber Shane Dawson’s videos features a joke about how depressed or fat he is. That type of humor was even displayed in an episode of SpongeBob when Patrick was willing to fall on his face just to get people to laugh. I, like Gabriel Iglesias, prefer the everyday type of humor where daily events are told in a comedic manner. Events like my DC excursion, me falling out of a moving car with a child as a parachute, and shooting my TV with a toy bow and mallet (I used a xylophone mallet instead of a toy arrow) have made me quite knowledgeable in how to retell a story to get a positive reaction out of people.

After years of watching the TV shows that I did, you almost expect to hear a laugh track every time something comical happens in your life. The ABC show The Middle follows the life of a fictional stereotypical American family in the Midwest, the Hecks. Many families like my own are attracted to the accurate portrayal of middle class life when many other shows don’t touch on the subject of financial instability. I am 99% convinced that the writers of that show are following my life and using my family’s adventures to their advantage. The children of the show are basically my sister and I. My sister is athletic like the oldest son, Axl, but has all of the misfortune of the sister, Sue. My mom is hard working and my dad is very serious like the parents of the show. Brick Heck, the socially awkward youngest child, is a perfect replica of me at his age. The time my family traveled to Washington DC to get my sister’s passport for her Spain travels felt like an emotional, 2 part, season finale of a popular TV show such as The Middle. The temperature was below zero, my mom broke her heel walking down the cobblestone street, we got lost (very lost), and the whole purpose for our trip was nearly unfulfilled. I knew we were in trouble from the second my sister said, “I need to go to the Spanish embassy in Washington DC”. I am also convinced that my family’s life acts as a popular sitcom in a parallel universe and the Brick of that universe is convinced of the same.

I have even been told by people around me that I should get a TV show after I tell them some of my adventures. I definitely could see that happen. Each of my family members would make great characters. One of my cousins, Chato, is very witty and adult-like in the way he converses with people. I have to be careful with what I say around him because he is quick to turn my words into a self-inflicting weapon with his insults. He was my parachute when I fell out of that car I mentioned earlier (he opened the door on purpose just so we would fall out). My grandmother would also make a great character. She is wise but has a very short temper. Her road rage alone would make a great episode. I recall the adventure in which she drove my cousins and I around and we came across a turtle in the road. We stopped and put it in a plastic bag. Just my luck, a police showed up and questioned our actions. My older cousin (I have a lot of cousins), Bianca, translated for my grandmother. “I’m sorry sir, we just wanted to save this turtle” With the batting of all of our eyelashes, the officer was gone. When we arrived to the house, the bag had a hole in it and the turtle was never found. Experiences like the turtle rescue and DC trip proved to be useful as I learned how to be a good storyteller.

My show would be funny, emotional, and inspiring. I may seem conceited, but I’m not claiming to be the wittiest person in this universe (maybe in the alternate universe where my show is a hit). I’m thankful that I watched so much TV as a kid. I was inspired by my sponsors’ humor to create my own type of humor. I thank George Lopez, my best friend and his offensive humor, and all those countless shows for teaching me how to tickle someone’s funny bone. I was inspired to pursue entertainment because I now see comedy as an inspiring tool. I and so many others have learned through comedic experiences about themselves and the world . Life is like a TV show and I can’t wait for next season.



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