Teaching My Son To Be Funny And Interesting, Because It Matters
If you’re born an American male, then there is a subtle pressure for you to be funny and interesting. A famous quote by Marilyn Monroe backs this up:
“If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.”
When my wife and I randomly met in line at a taping for a concert in Nashville on October 5, 2006, I didn’t capture her attention by my looks.
Instead, I did it through my eccentric charm; which largely consists of telling off-beat real life stories, laced in deadpan humor, illustrated with dramatic hand motions which I subconsciously learned from my Italian grandfather while growing up.
Why is it that the majority of comedians and writers throughout history have been and still are men?
Because we sort of have to be both funny and interesting. I believe it’s part of survival of the fittest for men, in particular.
So now after 6 years of meeting my wife, we are raising a nearly 2 year-old son.
A son who will grow up needing to be both interesting and funny.
Needless to say, it is my role as the dad to teach him to become these things. The tricky part is making sure he’s not obnoxious instead.
A person who is too interesting is in danger of becoming nerdy and boring.
A person who is too funny is in danger of become distant and insensitive.
My son Jack has proven to me that he has the funny gene. So right now, I’m starting to be proactive in helping him direct his natural talent.
I don’t want Jack to be the little boy who thinks he’s funny just because certain people laugh when he does something they think is cute. For example, when a little boy goes up to strangers and says, “Hi!”
After the stranger replies, the boy becomes a broken record in an attempt to obtain a collection of repeat laughs: “Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!…”
That’s the worst.
The most important part of being interesting and funny is the timing and theatrics of the delivery.
I can see how even at just 23 months-old, when Jack does something funny like stick his thumb in applesauce, then look up at his Mommy and I and say, “Oh no!” like it’s some kind of tragic accident with a worried look on his face, he waits for us to laugh before he does.
That’s comedy in the making.
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