2016 was a very, very bad year no matter how you slice it. In tough times, comedy is often a form of escape that people turn to when they need comforting. With that in mind, we asked our contributors to pick the one piece of comedy in any form that they turn to when they really need cheering up. We’ll be sharing their choices throughout the week in a package we’re calling “The Best Medicine.”
Comedy lives in the surprise, and I appreciate newness and innovation in my funny things…unless I’m down, and too tired for my preconceived expectations to be playfully challenged. Then I want comfort and familiarity. Take me away, Chicken Lady.
Most comedy I enjoy turns me into an intolerable combination of fanboy and academic. I can’t just watch and enjoy like a normal person. I have to laugh hysterically, repeat funny lines to myself out loud for some reason, and then mentally break down the funny thing into its beats and bones to determine why and how it is funny so I can apply these lessons to my own work. It’s not like this with The Kids in the Hall. It’s just pure delight, always. They are thusly un-analyzable, maybe because I started watching that show when I was nine or ten, so it’s a childhood relic made unimpeachable with the passage of time. Or maybe it’s because the Kids are Canadian, and are linked in my subconscious to all of the good times I’ve had in Canada, doing touristy things like going to high tea and scoring comedy books you can’t get in the States. (Again, always an academic.)
The Kids in the Hall is a comforting token of the past, but it also inspires. These five guys came together to make true and hilarious magic. This makes me want to continue to find my own similar tribe, and to make things that make me laugh, and them laugh. This good-thing-of-the-past-fueling-the-good-things-of-the-future can be a powerful antidote against whatever garage the present may decide to throw out.