“Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?”
Given that I make my living as a freelance writer, it should come as little surprise that I find great pleasure in wordplay. Puns can be fun, but dissecting the English language for all of its logical errors and subtleties can be even more fun. That’s comedy.
And George Carlin, while not always focusing on wordplay, was easily one of the best comics of all time. He is perhaps best remembered for the seven words routine (NSFW YouTube link due to language, naturally), but little jokes like the one above are very clever too. It doesn’t have to be crude to be funny (not to say that I am opposed to crude humor).
But does comedy really serve a useful purpose? Do we really need characters like George Costanza and Stephen Colbert in a purely utilitarian sense? Well, American psychologist William James once said, “We don’t laugh because we’re happy. We’re happy because we laugh.” And I think we’d all agree that happiness is pretty important.
Here are a couple of other gems from Carlin:
“Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.”
“When someone asks you, A penny for your thoughts, and you put your two cents in, what happens to the other penny?”
In your quests to find fame, fortune and love, don’t forget to keep a sense of humor about things too. Smile and the world will smile back at you.