Hello to Tim from The Lapped Catholic ("Faith lived, hope spoken, love given! Well, that's the ideal!") Tim is our 2007 Ironic Poet Laureate, and he's not kidding about his confessed addiction to caption contests (by which we all benefit). Tim, I know real life gets in the way, but you've got to get blogging some more. Tim is a funny guy. See his post on "The Boxing Nun", picture left.
Have at it, Tim. My comments are in red.
What is the role of humor on your blog?
Other than a place for people to point at, laugh, and say "he calls that a blog"? I think mostly it's an outlet for my humorous side and a way to prove to myself that I'm funny, oh and to live out, in some small way, my childhood fantasy of writing for or a sitcom.
Why is "Christian Humor" not an oxymoron?
I think true "Christian Humor" is an aspect of hope. [Dang, that's good.] Kind of in a "You've got to laugh to keep from crying" sort of way. Let's see if I can explain this. The basis of good humor is to show the difference between expectations and reality, so good "CH" should in some way highlight the difference between what we know we could be (holy) and what we are (fallen). And you can either choose to bemoan your fallen state and descend into hopelessness and despair or you can laugh at yourself (albeit nervously) because of your faith in God (okay, it's an aspect of faith AND hope) and your hope in His promise of saving grace. (Okay, so maybe it's an aspect of faith, hope AND grace. I feel like the Spanish Inquisition..."Our two weapons are...I mean, our three weapons are...oh, I'll just go out and start again.)
Are you funny offline?
Thankfully my wife finds me very amusing. My children a little less so. With most other people it takes me a long time to warm up to them so I don't usually try my humor on them. Most people I know would probably call me stoic.
Are there "BIG POINTS" in your humor posts, or are you just goofing around?
I think there usually are some bigger points but I trust most people to figure out the points because I become less funny the more I try to explain myself.
What makes something humorous, in your opinion?
It's back to that juxtaposition of expectations/fantasy and reality. But it can go both ways. You can make fun of something by pointing out the discrepancy between it and reality or you can take something serious and real and make it silly and not so serious. But it has to be done without ill will or the appearance of ill will. That's where it just turns into bullying and it's not funny. I also find things funny when they point out connections between very disparate things that I would probably never have thought of.
What kind of humor crosses the line in your blog, if any?
I try very hard not to cross the line. In a previous lifetime I was all about humor that crossed the line. My humor would cross the line and then I'd draw another line just so I could cross that one. That kind of humor has no hope and leads to some very dark places.
What humorous post did you create and really like that just flopped?
My "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Arinze" bumper sticker post:
It was probably more of a timing issue since I came up with it well after the Pope's elevation. Still, I thought it was hilarious to think of the Pope having a bumper sticker, for one thing, and it being like the "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For (insert losing candidate's name here)" you see after an election. I still laugh when I see it. The only thing funnier would be to get access to his car and put the bumper sticker on it. [heh heh--that would be great]
Are there any humorists (written or on screen) you really like?
I enjoy a lot of the old humorists like Twain, Chesterton, Wilde. Many of the Monty Python crew make me laugh both as Monty Python and in many of their later individual projects. My list of humorists I don't like is a lot longer and easier for me to think of but you didn't ask for that list and it would be unChristian to offer it...wouldn't it? [Yeah. But I admire your restraint,
even as I now sit and wonder what this list contains.]
Humor: evangelization, frivolity, or neither?
I think humor can definitely be used for evangelization, just as long as it's not delivered from the pulpit like a Late Night with David Letterman monologue. The Mass is for things sacred. I find most humor delivered in a homily to be inappropriate. No matter how precious or clever, it is still mundane, and mundane is not sacred. I know because I just looked it up on dictionary.com.
How do you keep it up online when you don't feel funny?
I don't, sad to say. I haven't been feeling very funny lately and my blog has suffered, (though it's not like I was racking up the posts in the first place). A lot of times I'll go to other blogs and try to be funny in the comboxes. One way I like to keep my funny bone in shape is to do caption
contests. I'll drop everything to do a caption contest. I fear that might point to a flaw in my character.
Name one thing Jesus probably laughed about.
I can imagine Jesus letting out a laugh as Peter starts to sink while he's walking across the Sea of Galilee during the storm, as the reality of Peter's humanity is made clear. But it is a loving laugh of a friend who sees His humanity in his friend. Later, once they were in the boat, I imagine Jesus slapped Peter on the back and told him, "Dude, I wasn't laughing at you...I was laughing near you!"*.
*Loose translation from the Aramaic.
Thanks, Tim, those were great answers. Now write some posts already.
That's pretty much the end of the interview series. I did ask two other blogs to contribute, and as yet, they haven't...but if they return my email with answers, I will post them. I may take a crack at these questions myself Saturday or Monday and close the series. I guess my "academic geek cred" is showing, but I thought this was very interesting...especially how so many of us are on the same page on Christian life and humor.
To see entire series, click on the About Humor Blogging tag.