The other night, I convinced my sweet daughter to call up our favorite Chinese restaurant and order take-out. Inspired by the Funny Muslim Names clip I posted from Saturday Night Live, Homeland Security and Humor I told her, "Tell them our name is Greek, and that it's a long name so you'll have to spell it." I then proceeded to tell her to use the name, "Ibeen Farten."
The kids roared with laughter at the idea! Once things calmed down, I told them that this was our chance to see comedy in action. Curiosities peeked, they agreed. My daughter called the restaurant and softly recounted our order then giggled a bit before delivering the punchline. She did it flawlessly, or so I thought.
Yet, there was no reaction over the phone. "That's okay," I thought. "The restaurant is going to be another story. I can hear it now... Pick up for Ibeen Farten." We laughed all the way to the restaurant.
Nobody said a thing.
The car now smelled like a Chinese take-out restaurant. "What happened?" I asked.
"Nothing, mom," my daughter replied.
"That's strange. I thought it was funny. Do you think they were just pretending not to laugh in case it really was our name and they didn't want to hurt our feelings?"
That's exactly what we told ourselves had happened. Oh well, we had a good laugh at the prospect of making others laugh. We bombed, as they say in the comedy world, but we succeeded in Sophy's world because we laughed.
After dinner I looked at the receipt and realized that my daughter still had "issues" with her spelling. Instead of spelling, "Ibeen Farten," she spelled, "Ibeen Sarten."
For us, her misspelling of the punchline was funnier than the joke! It just goes to show, humor is subjective. While, in the name of comic research, we intended to create a funny moment for others, the joke was on us.