Welcome to Paul from Alive and Young! Paul is a Notre Dame student, and we'll refrain from lame jokes about the never-ending passion of the ND football season, shall we? We're practicing Christian hospitality here. Alive and Young is another "mixed topics" blog, but heavy on the humor...and Paul does a lot of his own. As any red blooded college student/budding theologian would, he has insights (picture top right) that others do not. And his fake news series on Celebs Commenting on Catholicism (example here) is inspired.
Now (professorial tone on)... I hope all this blogging isn't getting in the way of YOUR midterms, young man. But thanks for answering all these questions. Take it away, Paul!
What is the role of humor on your blog?
I initially started "Alive and Young" with the goal of engaging culture (the world) and seeing where Christianity coincides with the age and how it doesn't. So most of my earlier posts were serious in nature or took on a more serious tone. I eventually discovered that being too serious all the time was just boring: it was a real drag -- I'm only as serious as I have to be, which isn't all the time. I found far too many blogs dedicated to being serious, which can be depressing. So I eventually started inserting humorous things to liven up the blogosphere.
Not only do I use humor on my blog to change the pace of posts, I also use humor to try and educate. If people can learn something while they are laughing I feel that what they learn is more likely to stick. Plus, everyone likes to laugh. Why not try to increase the general happiness of the world by helping people laugh?
Why is "Christian Humor" not an oxymoron?
What is contradictory about Christianity being funny? Nothing. I don't know where people got the idea that Christians can't be funny or have humor. After all Christ didn't say "Let me into your life so that I can make you miserable, unhappy, and bitter." Nor did Christ say "Blessed are the people who don't have humor and don't laugh, for they shall have the last laugh." I would say that Christian humor is currently more of an anomaly than an oxymoron.
Also, humor is part of the unseriousness of life. If God did not intend humor he probably would not have created laughter nor would he have created things like noses, ears, and flatulence.
Are you funny offline?
I find myself mildly amusing. Others think I'm not too funny. Others think I'm funny. Depends on who you ask. I just try to laugh and hope others laugh with me.
Are there “BIG POINTS” in your humor posts, or are you just goofing around?
Sometimes the big point is just humor, laughter, and nothing more. Other times it is an attempt to educate the reader on a specific church teaching. I hope to show people that Christians can have humor, comedy, and laughter in a way that is not crass and crude like many of the current secular comedians, humorists, and sitcoms.
What makes something humorous, in your opinion?
Anything that makes me laugh, but not everything that makes me laugh must be shared with the world. The things that I find most funny are things that are filled with wit. I find it much more difficult to do witty humor than it is to make a crass joke about sex or using the bathroom.
What kind of humor crosses the line in your blog, if any?
There are a number of things that could cross the line. I use the rule of thumb that if I wouldn't talk about it or tell the joke to my grandmother then it probably doesn't belong on my blog. I try to avoid potty humor, crude sex jokes, and pointless swearing. [The Grandma rule...I like that!]
What humorous post did you create and really like that just flopped?
I have two that I thought were funny and didn't get much of a response. The first is Papal Briefs.
The second is a satirical letter to my catechists: "Dear Catechists".
Are there any humorists (written or on screen) you really like?
Brian Regan and Bill Gaffigan [OK, now I feel really old. Never heard of them.]
Humor: evangelization, frivolity, or neither?
All of the above. [Now THAT'S a midterm answer!]
How do you keep it up online when you don't feel funny?
I usually don't feel funny. So I just wait until something hits me that is funny. I write daily, but I try not to force the humor. There aren't any canned laughter tracks on a blog nor are there any "laughter" or "applause" signs in a post, so I can't tell people when, where, or what to laugh at. Lately, my funny bone has been not so funny, so I haven't been doing much original humor. Just finding stuff online that others have done.
Name one thing Jesus probably laughed about.
--Well, maybe in a Sarah laughing at the existence of Isaac kind of way.
Actually, I hope Jesus is chuckling at your "Theologian in a Box: All the prestige for a fraction of the price" post. I'm still tearing up at the prestige bit.
Thanks, Paul. Coming Friday: Tim from The Lapped Catholic.
Read all the interviews by clicking the About Humor Blogging tag.