Part 1 of Humour Hide & Seek: Losing Your Funny

Ladies, Gentlemen, and adoring readers, I have lost my funny. Much like Austin Powers losing his mojo, I believe that I have lost my funny. How do I know? I haven’t written an article in a few weeks because I just didn’t think it would be funny, nor did I have the desire to sit and write a funny article. I just didn’t feel funny. The good news is that I haven’t lost my sense of humour completely. I can still laugh – not just that fake laugh when you fear you’ve said something inappropriate – but a light chuckle when someone else says something that may be inappropriate. Maybe, like Austin Powers my “funny” isn’t completely lost. Maybe it’s a state of mind, and I can tell you that the state my mind is in right now is funny.

What I’m doing now is writing a multi-part series on losing your funny and getting it back. I’m not all the way there yet with getting it back (where is “there” anyway…that’s something I get to figure out), but I’m on the journey. In this article I’m exploring ways a person can lose their funny; not so that we can find ways to avoid these things (because life says we can’t) but so that we can say “Oh, that’s why…” and learn to “live funny” again.  It’s time to go deep (but not that deep). Are you ready?

How do you know you’ve lost it? What does it look like? Does it feel a certain way?

I’ll tell you why I lost my funny, or at least what I believe caused it. The short version is people passed away. People I liked and people I loved. That has a profound effect on a person no matter where you come from. It even happens for elephants – they grieve loss too. So, how did I know I lost my funny? Basically, I wasn’t as quick as I normally am to see the funny in something. My sense of humour went dark. And my family being the way we are, we’re looking for laughs, especially at a funeral.

I was talking to one of my aunts following my Grandpa’s funeral and I said to her: “I think I need to go to Confession”.

“Why?” she asks.

“Because, when I started to read the prayers, my nose dripped on the Bible.”

She laughed a hearty belly-laugh and assured me that I was the only one who noticed (because to me it was the largest, wettest, nose-drip ever). And of course I keep telling this story now because even I think it’s funny.

I imagine a “loss of funny” could appear differently to and for different people. The main effect is losing the feeling of being funny. Maybe it feels like it takes a lot more effort to find the funny, or we doubt whether this thought we’re thinking would be funny out loud so we don’t say it. Maybe we don’t want to talk at all, or maybe that belly-laugh we normally experience with a certain comedian or certain type of joke becomes a smirk and a shoulder-shrug. Because I never give up on humour, I’ll say that thought anyway. I know in times like these, my filter could be weakened and I’m less concerned about being “appropriate” with my humour. And that could be a good thing. I’m starting to think that this “Funny has been lost” period is a good time to experiment. More on this in Part 2.

Other ways to recognize the loss of your “funny”

 It’s possible to lose your funny, as in your ability or desire to be funny, but still be able to laugh. It could just take a bit longer for you to get it. Without getting all science-y about the brain I’ll just say that if the brain is tired or not operating well because of, let’s say, circumstances, then it’s harder for it to make those connections that make the laugh happen.

Something else that seems to happen is that at first, you may not even realize it, but you’re taking the serious route more often than you usually do. Good on you if you notice this. You may have a moment where you say “woah…that just got dark”. Or somebody says to you “when did you get so serious?”. Don’t be scared and scream: “OMG! I’ve lost my funny!” when you tune into this, just make sure you subscribe to my blog and read my next article. I promise, you’ll be alright and you will be funny again!

Why do we lose oour funny?

There are a number of reasons that a person can lose their funny. And there never seems to be only one. There are usually a few dominoes working together on it.

Here are a few:

Undue, and ongoing Stress. I’m too stressed-out to expand on this one.

Lack of sunlight. I’m solar-powered, so this can affect me. I don’t think I’m as funny when it’s cloudy.

Lack of sleep. When I’m tired, my jokes sound funny in my head, but people hearing them just think I’m being weird. Here’s an analogy: Sometimes I’m so tired, my humour is more like when people are drunk and think they can sing like Kelly Clarkson or Celine Dion, but in reality they sound like a goat. Only other people can hear that. So, the jokes seem funny inside my head, but the words don’t come out right or in the right order and I become a joke-telling goat.

Grief – I can still laugh at a funeral, I don’t seem to be able to make as many jokes until I’m not feeling as sad anymore. Yet making jokes is a key component to lightening up such heavy event. Again, the filter is compromised and there’s a whole lot of “too soon?”going around.

Frustration There are those things you see people doing are more stupid than funny so instead of laughing you get frustrated. There are electronic devices, auto-correct, traffic, not being able to type without having to correct every sentence, caffeine withdrawal, and many other things that can cause us to feel frustrated. Many comedians actually use common frustrations to build jokes from – and don’t you feel better after laughing about it.

Winter. Don’t get me started. I’ve got my winter tires on my car already. If winter is delayed a little, I won’t mind. The only reason I’ll be excited about that first snowy day is that I’ll get to try out my new boots. I think they’re nice looking boots, and my mom approved them, meaning they’re warm enough.

Too much life crap is weighing you down and you’ve got to dig yourself out a little bit before you can even start to be funny. Believe it or not, humour can help with this, and it’s not a one-time deal. It’s about repetition (more on this in a later article). And get some help with the digging either from others, or funny sounding words, or an assistant of any kind (mine is furry and makes sure that all of my clothes are covered in cat hair as well as telling me when supper time is).

Interesting…

What’s interesting is that although these things can cause us to lose our funny, retaining our funny, getting it back and remembering that we are funny (if we are) are so very important. That is to say humour is what gets is through these tough times; even if it’s harder to find. In Part 2 of this series I’ll explore ideas to help us see the funny even when it’s hard to, and get our funny back!

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E-mail kathryn@kathrynreichheld.ca Hours Contact me anytime and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
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