Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Elixir of Life...

Is most definitely laughter.  I have always found that laughter -- good, genuine, uninhibited, belly laughter -- is one of the best medicines around.  When I am with my funniest friends, my family (I'm blessed on Mom's side with some of the most innately funny people around!), or observing a favorite comedian/comedienne, and when I get to laughing so hard that my breathing actually changes, and tears start coming out of my eyes and making my nose run ... That feeling lasts beyond the moment.  It changes things.

So I was excited to see that the Huffington Post is running an article about the 20 most influential black comedians in our country -- in honor of Black History Month.  You can read the article and vote on your favorites and ones you think shouldn't have made the list.  It's fun!  I have to say that I had a blast seeing who they chose, and I agreed with at least 75% of the choices.  Also, I guess it does have to be considered that saying one is "most influential" does not necessarily mean they are the funniest.  I can see in people like Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby (not saying they aren't funniest) that their original ideas and creative risk-taking on stage laid the foundation for many, many other artists and acts that would come later.  I didn't even see a stand-up routine by Richard Pryor until I was older than 30!!!  And by that time, I had seen other comedians, ones who were famous during "my" generation ... and really believed that certain jokes, certain ways of telling a joke, etc., were their original material.  But after I saw Richard Pryor, I know there has definitely been some style-bitin' goin on!  Not to say that's a horrible thing; I mean, in the arts, people want the style and idea that they have come to know.  If they love a guy like Pryor and they come to see some lesser-known artist, well, that lesser-known better tell jokes the "right" way at least ... and the right way would be sort of like Pryor.

Well, I went ahead and got interactive with it, because I loved all these guys and gals (only two made the list I think, only two females).  I've been teased by friends at times when they ask the question, "And, um, do you like any comedians who are NOT black?"  because all my favorites seem to be!  I do like George Lopez and Lisa Lampanelli (sp?) and Lewis Black, to name a few.  But they aren't my favorites, for whatever reason.

The scale for voting is 1 (lowest) to 10 (legendary).  My choices were:
9's (consistently hilarious and creative but not quite legends in my mind):  Chris Rock, Bernie Mac, Mo'nique
10's (truly legends and icons in their field):  Richard Pryor, Wanda Sykes, Cedric the Entertainer

...Let me know if you do it and have your own ideas!  I might have a different list, but I was going with just the 20 choices they gave in the article.  Loved it!  Oh, and I almost forgot to add my favorite of all the quotations attributed to the people in the article:
My mother wanted me to be a lawyer [but I told her] that I needed to choose my own destiny.  I wanted to be an actor.  So two weeks after I graduated college, I called my mom one day and asked to borrow $200.  She said to me, "Why don't you act like you got $200? --Arsenio Hall


TOM said...

No way you are over 39 LOL

Barbara aka Layla said...

Richard Pryor was for sure one of my all time favorites.

Laughter makes life better. I need to do it more often!

TerminallyUniq said...

OVER 39????? I never claimed to be!!!! Let's not make anything worse than it is ... or before it has to be ... or something. TOM!