Friday, June 10, 2011

The Comedian's Credo

The Comedian's Credo 

Never tell an original joke if you can copy one
Never copy a joke if you can scan it 
Never scan a joke you can right click and Save As 
By the way, did you hear the one about the comedian and the copyright law?

While very few jokes are original, I believe that bringing humor to others is a genuinely important role to play on life's stage. Humor helps the more serious minded see the lighter side of life. It even allows us face our own challenging situations with a bit of sparkle and rib-tickling bedazzle. 

Having an ebullient disposition is an uncomplicated, undemanding way to view our lives and see our place in the world. Being funny isn't just about laughing at others, it's also about relaxing and laughing at ourselves - while laughing at others.

Elsa Maxwell said, "Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can," which, when in good fun, is terrific advice. The Latin adjective ridiculus means something or someone who makes you laugh, so if you're planning on a career in comedy or simply planning some well-rehearsed jokes for your next meeting, be mindful that people can end up laughing at the comedian - not just the joke.

In researching jokes, I've discovered that many are derivatives of another person's work. Yet, comedians can afford to be unimaginative and get away with it. In fact, comedians can downright infringe upon someone else's material and laugh all the way to the bank. As it stands today, Federal court, where copyright cases are heard, would probably laugh a copyright infringement case involving a comedian right out of the courtroom. For as luck would have it, copyright law only protects the exact expression, not the idea. So, change a word or two, shift a one-liner, and get ready to deliver a great punchline.

 Works every time...
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