Bad Jokes

To the new house of Miss Stephanie Clark to celebrate the end of one arbitrary unit of temporal measurement and the start of a new one. It was a nice evening. We played a pop-music DVD quiz (which I wasn’t much help on because the only pop music I understand is that of the White Stripes and Morrissey and there weren’t any questions on either) and ate vegetable samosas.

Among the guests of our little party were the parents of Steph’s new housemate, Adele. It seemed that I’d been introduced to them and everyone else beforehand and that Steph had positioned me as ‘the funny one’: part librarian and part stand-up comedian or something. I’m such a ball of irony.

This was actually nice and left me feeling rather un-self-conscious for the first time in ages. There was much uproarious laughter at my stupid and mostly off-the-cuff one-man dialogues to the extent that the situation reminded me of that episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation where Data trains to become a stand-up comedian but all of his audience is holographic and programmed to laugh at anything he does. You’d think this would be a bad thing. But it was great. Because I’m a shallow, shallow boy who likes attention.

I assumed that Adele’s parents – being middle-aged and from the Black Country and all – would be a bit conservative so I had endeavoured to watch my potty-mouth. But before I knew it, a great big cancer joke toppled out of my gob like an ugly, dislodged homunculus.

But it was okay. They liked the cancer. I had been completely prejudiced in my assumptions about them.

Maybe everyone finds cancer funny and it’s not really an edgy or controversial subject matter at all. Which is weird. I doubt there is a person in the world over 20 who has not been affected by cancer in one way or another. Why is it funny? You’re all sick. Sick and wrong. Stop touching yourself! I can see you, you know.

As usual though, faux-pas would raise its hilarious head. Steph passed an atypically maternal comment about her 19-year-old ‘little brother’ and I said something like “Oh, Steph, he’s old enough to have had a wank. In fact, he’s probably wanking right now.”

For some reason this one didn’t go down well. Why is cancer okay to laugh at but wanking isn’t? I’ll probably never understand comedy at all.

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