Friday, 27 April 2007

It's about having fun, not making fun.

Mamu and Gladys made a mistake at their last visit to Ramaiah Hospital. They made fun of each other. Mamu laughed at Gladys' wedding plans with Salman Khan because "who'd marry a fattie like you?" and Gladys yanked off Mamu's hat to reveal a bald head underneath.

Yes, it was funny. Yes, the audience laughed. But it wasn't good clowning. Clowning is not laughter at someone else's expense. Clowning is kind, innocent and harmless. We're supposed to be above baser humour that needs a target in order to get its laughs. No Sardarji jokes, no sexist smut or four-letter words. If we can't get them to laugh without these things, then we have a long way to go before we can call ourselves clowns. Because that other type of humour contains a veiled hostility - "It was only a joke!" or "You're too sensitive .. " or "Oh, you just don't have a sense of humour." or "You just don't get it because you're a girl." (or a guy, as the case may be).

People who've survived domestic violence or emotional abuse will find those last examples quite familiar. All the more reason a clown needs to be sure her jokes are never at any one's expense. The last thing a clown wants to be associated with is aggression or hostility or abuse.

Yup. There is certainly a deep philosophy behind the red nose. And inbetween the funny posts, I shall explore it further.

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