By Sophie Zhang 刘宇佳 注
“Why are you so funny?“
“You’re hilarious ! How do you do it?“
“Do you know how funny you are?“
I get that a lot. And yes, funny people know that they’re funny. Even if you don’t think what you’ve said or done is funny, after a while, you start to catch on from all the laughter surrounding you. Laughter is a beautiful sound, and they say it makes us live longer. It keeps us healthy and is the universal expression for happiness.
But the thing is, people make assumptions about funny people. They forget that funny people can be sad because we mistake that laughter for happiness, and that happiness for strength. In light of Robin Williams ’ recent and tragic death, I want to write about what it really means to be someone who is funny.
Here’s the difference between someone who has an innate sense of humor and someone who does not: I see humor in everyday moments and the other person does not. Not only do I find regular, seemingly uninteresting moments funny, I also know how to communicate them so that a person who wouldn’t find them humorous does. Understanding the difference isn’t exactly earth-shattering, but knowing what the difference implies is.
Finding humor in everyday moments is a way to be artificially happy all the time. Oftentimes, you’ll find that comedians are the saddest, most depressed beings there are out there. We use humor to transform the pain, but once the audience leaves and the laughter dissipates , we’re reminded of what was underneath the smiles and nods. Humor is our coping mechanism, our way of masking our unhappiness. It seems slightly ironic, but since when has human behavior ever made sense?
For me, I make fun of everything. I make fun of the fat guy down the street, the child screaming on the plane, and the fact that I can’t play any sports. I squeeze laughter out of the toddler dropping his ice cream cone on the ground, the person miscalculating their jump and landing right into the rain puddle. Anything and everything—I know the right words and the right way to say them.
But when I’m alone, the sadness slowly starts to creep in . It comes in slowly, and then once I start to feel like it’s gone, it rushes in and envelops me. I guess sadness has a sense of humor too—it starts to leave and then psych ! It’s back. It’s during moments like that when I realize that funny has its limits—you need an audience for it to work. You need to hear people’s laughter to confirm that what you are thinking isn’t sad, it’s hilarious!
You will often hear comedians poking fun of themselves. People mistake that kind of humor for lightheartedness , an ability to not take oneself too seriously. But that confidence is often unearned and false. It’s a way to market our insecurities and turn it into something worthwhile. If my shortcomings can make other people happy, then why not? Why not? Why not?
It’s not a bad thing to be lighthearted about the world, but the problem is, few people are. I am not lighthearted. I may come off that way, but I don’t feel that way. Perception is everything, and people don’t bother to dig deeper following first impressions. There’s no need to worry about the girl who is so closely followed by laughter, you would think it was her shadow.
I can’t speak for the great Robin Williams, but I can say that I know what it’s like to feel hopeless, to not want to get out of bed in the morning. But there are moments in life I wouldn’t give up for anything: Seeing a smile on my brother’s face after he wins a tennis match; the satisfaction of having a meal so delicious that you can’t believe it’s real and getting a kiss from a loved one. Those are the moments worth living for, and those are the moments that don’t need sugar coating. They are real and they are yours.
As I grow older, I have learned to cherish these memories more and to not let them go. I keep them in the safe of my head, where no one can take them away from me, where no one can see. These are the things that keep me going and they don’t need laughter to make me happy.
2.catch on: 明白，理解。
8.你经常会发现喜剧演员们（在生活中）是最不开心和最抑郁的。comedian: 喜剧演员；depressed: 沮丧的。
10.cope: 应对；mechanism: 机制；mask: 掩饰。
12.小孩子不慎将甜筒掉在地上；人们失足踏进雨水坑时，我都能从中发现笑点。squeeze: 挤，压；toddler: 初学走路的孩子；miscalculate: 失算；puddle: 水坑。
13.creep in: 悄悄潜入。
14.悲伤感缓缓而来，当我觉得它们消失时，它们又再次席卷，把我紧紧包围。rush in: 冲进来；envelop: 包围。
16.你会经常听到喜剧演员们拿自己开玩笑。Poke fun of: 取笑。
18.insecurity: 不安全；worthwhile: 值得做的。
19.我表现出很快乐的样子，但我并非真的觉得很快乐。come off: 表现。
20.感觉就是一切。人们获取第一印象后，却不再去进一步了解更多。perception: 感知，感觉；bother: 烦扰；first impression: 第一印象。