wooden spoons and comedy
beat the funny into you
At the end of my daughter’s birthday party as family members were leaving, my sister and I demonstrated what it was like to be chased by our mother with a wooden spoon.
We did this for our children.
One, so that the could see how nice it was not to get hit by pieces of wood and two so they could see how ridiculous our mother would get when she was angry. My sister told the story of one of the last times my mom used the wooden spoon on me. We acted it out as a routine.
The routine involved rummaging through a drawer, finding a suitable kitchen weapon, with me chasing my sister in circles through the kitchen, dining room, living room and hall way before looping back into the kitchen again all while smacking the spoon demonstratively menacingly on every tall surface we passed.
In the real version, I paused to scoop a pair of shoes, ran out the door and down the driveway only returning several hours later. It was funny then and it is still funny now.
We all had a good laugh together.
I for one am grateful for wooden spoons. To be a high level ballet dancer, children, from a very young age are molded into the profession. Most high level hockey players and the like are also shaped from a young age.
Diet. Body size. Willingness to comply / coach ability are all examined and monitored.
Most of the stand up comics I love have stories about being chased by moms with spoons, hit with shoes, blistered with straps or many other forms of corporal punishment. This seems reasonable.
Stand up feels like a life or death situation. Either you go out there and ‘kill them’ or you end up ‘dying on stage’. Though comics don’t actually die, it sure feels like that when no one laughs.
When performing live, the stakes feel like life or death. Our nervous systems heighten. Small subtle details scream. When I’m on stage, I notice everything. It’s like I’m getting chased by an angry mom with a wooden spoon who can’t keep up.
The thrill of the threat is there, but so is the joy of the chase and the comfort in knowing that I can get away.
Without the wooden spoon, I likely wouldn’t be as edgy, as sharp, as quick nor as funny.
So. As someone who loves comedy, I’m grateful to wooden spoons.
I would rather my children not grow up to be high level ballet dancers, hockey players, gymnasts nor stand up comics.