Unpopular Opinion of the Day: I Never Thought Jerry Lewis Was Funny

I never got Jerry Lewis. I don’t think he was funny. So what? My kids don’t get Jerry Seinfeld. Since when do we have to share a collective sense of comedic taste? My daughters don’t see why I laugh at a show “about nothing”. Certain kinds of humor are generational. I laughed at Hee Haw because it was ridiculous, not because it was funny.

If a joke transcends generations it’s still funny when it is delivered well, long after it was first conceived. That’s when we’re talking genius level comedy. Shakespeare wrote funny stuff; really funny jokes. If the material is delivered right, what was funny in 1600 can make an audience laugh in 2017. Neither Jerry Lewis nor Jerry Seinfeld will still be funny in four hundred years. That’s what sets genius apart. Do Jerry Lewis’ jokes age well? No, they do not. Jerry Lewis, for all the good he did to raise billions for children with Muscular Dystrophy, didn’t tell jokes that will stand the test of time. God bless him for his philanthropic work. His comedy won’t be remembered. Now, Dean Martin could sing. Music, like a good balcony scene, will be recited forever.

If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t Shakespeare the first member of the Rat Pack?

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An Interview with Lowell von Sourpuss

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I cannot tell you how unhappy I am at being forced to reveal any information about my past, whether it is happening now or occurred the day before yesterday.  For the record, I did not know Ethel Rosenberg or Lee Harvey Oswald’s uncle.  At the time you ask, I was with Princess Grace Kelly aboard the Monaco Falcon in a galaxy far, far away.  This is my unimpeachable alibi.

What is it you seek to know?    Remember, dear friend, nothing suits me like an ill-worded interrogation.

Where was I born?  Isn’t my living presence proof enough?  I am here.  Do you want to know that I was born on the only privately owned island in a floating national park some 25 miles off the coast of North Carolina?  Then yes, in a shack, on such a strip of land, named for a victim of the War of 1812, I left my mother’s womb.

What was I like as a child?  I had two hobbies, owing to the relative isolation of our island and my own interests.  Beyond taxidermy, crocheting, and composing for the harpsichord, little piqued my fancy.

Why did your first wife leave you?  She was captured by marauding pirates after leaving our home in a fit of rage over my persistent body odor and gas passing.  I did not know the pirates.  I am only guilty of smelling extremely bad.  Come closer as I raise my arm.  Do you doubt me?  Rancid, no? Sadly, the pirates left no forwarding address and I was forced to move on to less algae infested waters.

Do you have any pets?  Do I look like the type of semi-autonomous European nobility to hold onto pets for any certain period of time?  You’re fearfully nodding your head.  What did Lord de Montefort tell you?  Yes.  When I’m writing for the harpsichord and crocheting, I enjoy the company of my cats:  Gloria, Mark, and Snowball.  Two years ago, a cat named Jasper came to dwell with us.  Jasper eventually disappeared while I was training staff members at the first Wal-Mart in Phnom Penh.  I know nothing about this ill-mannered beast’s ill timed departure.  I was elsewhere.  You will find this alibi as solid as Romeo’s love for Helen of Troy.

Do you belong to any secret organizations, clubs or societies?  If they are truly secret, why would I confirm their existence or my membership therein?  However, I will admit to being in the Illuminati, the Mickey Mouse Club, and the United Methodist Church.  5524379004_11cdc16710_b

We’ve been told all three organizations one in the same?  I can neither confirm nor deny this.  Though I have never seen Walt Disney and John Wesley together.

What are you most proud of?  My work as a theater critic has brought me great acclaim.  I haven’t been able to sleep one night in the same location since I wrote about Hamilton, “I’m not sure how historically accurate rapping is in 18th century America.”

What would you do over?  I would advise Lincoln to say 87 years ago.  No one says “four score and seven  years ago” any more.  I would not vote for a Whig.

Where do you buy your socks?  I knit my own socks with homemade thread, spun from the hair of my two dogs, Ruby Sue and Hurley Jean.

Would you add anything further?  My sincere hope that you remain squarely in the dark and grasping at straws.

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Food for Thought-A Shakespearean Sonnet on the Cruel Month of September

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A Shakespearean Sonnet on the Cruel Month of September

The late summer rains carry leaden air,
Vapors stalk me and they for whom I care,
Misty humors from the west make dark clouds,
Perchance, I only dream while nature sounds,
Anon, cruel fate awakes my sleeping heart,
Unable, I am to know where to start,
Opaque mysteries roam freely by my bed,
While beads of desperation drench my head,
Cruel month of September, won’t you leave?
Your nights bring me such pain on each new eve,
Alas, poor time close the September door!
With your humid vapors gone ever more,
Leave now, my soul, in shreds of autumn peace,
Before I embrace a cold winter’s sleep.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-Sunday Evening Shakespeare Fun

As You Like It,
I take,
Measure for Measure,
Of sweet sugar in my tea,
While I eat my supper with,
Julius Caesar
Macbeth,
Romeo and his friend
Juliet,
For dessert,
We sip fine Italian wine,
With Two Gentleman from Verona,
Who upon them,
No Love’s Labour’s Are Lost,
And for this we are grateful,
Says I,
Richard the First,
Methodist Parson on Howard Street.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-A Shakespearean Scene Meets Matthew 15:10-20

A little sonnet I was working on combining Matthew 15 themes with some other ideas.

They are not pleased with what I teach today,
Nor are they soothed with any word I say,
Tell me teacher, if that is what ye be,
What is it that defiles; food, wind, or sea?
They say the pots cleaned in the kitchen too,
Or what’s in the bottom of the priests’ loo?
The dirtiest muck runs not in the street,
Nor does it cross by your uncovered feet,
It walks and it climbs from your open mouth,
Where the words of your heart go north and south,
To harm and do evil in all direction,
Stabbing souls with verbal insurrection,
Love wounded by merely the smallest words,
Foul, foul words render me mute not absurd.

–Richard Bryant

Food for Thought-The Exile Returns (also known as “What if Shakespeare Met the Jeffersons)

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The Exile Returns (AKA What if Shakespeare Met the Jeffersons) 

Sometime near 9:00 am on the east coast of the United States, or so the clock says.  The talking heads on the television seem hell bent on convincing me to be concerned about the upcoming game this afternoon  between America’s football team and the seemingly invincible Germans.  I need to be taking off work, into this, and cheering my country on, do I?  I’ve been in a football mad country for two years and no one insisted I cheer for anyone.  Football, like air conditioning, was an ever prevalent optional extra.

Was it always this hot here?  Perhaps I grew soft in the wilds of the Irish north?  I think the phrase “like a ton of bricks” would be an understatement.  It will take some getting used to.  My sleep is still way off, as it is want to be when returning this direction.  I’ve had much time to reflect in the darkness.  These thoughts came to mind.  What if William Shakespeare had written the them song to the hit 70’s television show “The Jeffersons“?

Upward, we move,

towards the eastern side,

in unexpected grandeur skyward,

upward, we move,

towards the eastern side,

to dine, to relish, our cosmic pie.

Fish are no longer prepared in your kitchen,

beans have ceased to boil in your kettle,

toil, toil, strain, and trouble,

to ascend this cursed hill,

we have arrived at the castle gates,

fate has beset ourselves with this moment,

whilst we breathe, you and I shall never part,

what evil can be judged of us?

Upward, we move,

towards the eastern side,

in unexpected grandeur skyward,

upward, we move,

towards the eastern side,

to dine, to relish, our cosmic pie.

–Richard Bryant