So over the past year, I’ve been working with my graduate students on their humor writing. Ironically, I’ve never taken a course in humor. I think the harder I try to be funny, the worse it is. When I was younger, I was the serious sibling until we swapped places as we grew older. Tis be life.
You have to be quick. You have to be clever. You have to willing to fail with a joke. You can’t be “funny” if you play it safe. I don’t mean scandalous. But creativity in humor is a risk. Some people will get it, and others won’t. Be willing to find out.
Slice of life stories is real humor that lasts. I think about Larry David thinking he tipped the gardner twice or Jason Segel’s puzzled face at the touristy couple posed with their cutlery. Long lasting humor only comes from real life humor. The rest of the stuff is good for a laugh once and then, it fizzles.
Anyway, I was interviewed by Susan Mangiero (who is quite funny herself) for the University of Dayton blog about being funny. Life and humor are about experiences. So go have some. If you’re trying to write some humor, you can’t be funny sitting in front of a computer.
OK. New Family Rules During the COVID. Need to set a routine with some days. So last Friday we completed the Pushup Challenge. Four hundred pushups in an hour. Tommy completed it in 31 minutes. I was at about 33.30. My wife came in a shortly after. The video is the tail end when arms were rubbery. We’re going to do it every Friday, but moving the time down to 30 minutes.
In honestly, it wasn’t too bad. Until the next day. Upper body felt like it was in a torture rack the next day.
Toss it. Hit it. Catch it. Even those who “never played sports” played baseball or softball at some point. The hats had a letter on it that was ready to peel off, the shirts had a bad logo on it and the pants never fit. That’s the baseball I remember. That’s the baseball I miss. Elios and a “chug” sugar drink afterwards.
And tomorrow, Opening Day cancelled. And tonight, not as a baseball movie in sight on the TV. So now I’m flipping between 48 Hours and Sin City. Here’s the Top 10 Movies that should be on TV, in the order that I would choose to watch them.
10. Brewster’s Millions
More a comedy than baseball movie, I decided at the last minute to slide this in and bump out Cobb. Great 80s nostalgia with this one. Love that Baby’s father is the manager and John Candy gives a lesson in catcher heckling.
9. League Of Their Own
Good for Kit, she needed that big hit. Does Dottie drop the ball or does she take a dive for her sister? We know the answer. But more puzzling, what did the Peaches get for Kit in that trade? She’s the top pitcher in the league. I don’t’ see anyone new in the startling Rockford lineup. I need answers.
Even as a Yankee antagonist, I have to love and respect this movie. Mantle shares a great story about his father in the coal mines while Maris has his emotional battle with the fans. I love McGwire and his scene at the end.
7. Major League
Who plays a broken down ball player better than Tom Berenger? Nobody baby. And Dorn? He’s only high price.
6. Field of Dreams
Great flick, of course. Most of you want it higher. Ray and his father are touching, but I’m a sucker for Moonlight in this one. And Ray Liotta kills it, as usual. “Hey Rookie…you were good” may be the most satisfying send off in baseball movie history.
5. Eight Men Out
From one Shoeless Joe Jackson movie to the next, but it’s Cusack as Buck Weaver and David Strathairn as Eddie Cicotte who steal the show. Strathairn is probably the best actor whose name you don’t know. “29 is not 30.” Comiskey, you louse.
Good book, great movie. Very underrated performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman as manager Art Howe. Love the Hattenberg storyline. It’s hard to not go wild when Star-Lord takes it deep in the end. And, he gets on base.
3. Bull Durham
For many, this is the best baseball movie ever made, and I have no argument with those who do. Love the pitcher talking to himself, and love the veteran checking him. Hit the bull, get a steak. And candlesticks make a nice gift, you damn lollygaggers.
2. Bad News Bears
Watching this as a kid I wondered how in the hell this guy was allowed to drink brews in the dugout. Buttermaker would be in jail today but who wouldn’t want to play for him? Every scene is tremendous as it relates to youth sports. “Do the best you can.” I’m all for it, as long as kids actually try to do the best they can. (Bonus…the opposing pitcher quitting on his jerkface father in the next scene is also tremendous).
Sidenote: Yes the sequel is a bad movie yet…I’ll gladly stay up to 2 a.m. to watch it every damn time.
Simply put, my favorite. The symbolism. The music. Striking out the Whammer. Lady in Black. The Lady in White. The clock. The lights. Kids, tomorrow we go in the yard to knock the cover off the ball.
This movie hasn’t been on HBO in 30 years. It’s fantastic. Hour and 45 minutes. No idea why this guy added another 45 minutes after the credits.
Thomas Braddock chose the bar stool next to the brunette in the gold wing-laced cover up at the cabana. While the dress could barely allow him to see her polka dot print top, Braddock was able to admire her long, glistening legs from across the pool at the Pierre Marquise Hotel. He tossed a hard cover book and his Persol Ratti sunglasses on the bar and smiled at her as he took a seat.
“Two days in a row, I see. Are you following me, Mr. Bradley? It was Bradley, right? She was casually flipping through My 12 Years With JFK as she swirled a coconut cream margarita.
“Braddock actually, but you can call me Thomas,” he responded as he tried to get the bartender’s attention but to no avail. “And it looks like you’re almost empty, Lana.”
“Not really,” she said, smiling back. Lana wrapped her blue fingernails around the straw and took a deep, refreshing drink. “But you don’t look like a margarita man. And fortunately for you, I know the bartender.”