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Cancer Ha Ha Hee Hee

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Sarah SilvermanA few months ago the comic Sarah Silverman  told a story on The Nerdist podcast  that she and her hosts thought was hilarious:

She’d been swimming with a friend in a pool built for “the old people” who live in her building, where the water is deliciously warm, jumping and playing like porpoises. Silverman was poised on the diving board, about to tumble in, when her friend, another comic, called out, “Sarah-I-have-cancer-I’ve-been-trying-to-find-the-right-time-to-tell-you!” When she hit the water, Silverman said, she was laughing like a hyena.

Silverman and The Nerdist people are, I believe, in their 40s, possibly their early 50’s. They probably don’t realize it, but this is the decade when many people peak in terms of energy level and wisdom gained (and hopefully put to use, which it wasn’t in this case). I remember my mother saying of those years, “Everything got so much easier.”  I now look back on my 40s as—forgive the cliché—the best years of my life, at least so far (and I certainly don’t expect my 70’s to top them!)

I get dark humor. I appreciate dark humor. My favorite comic is Marc Maron, who’s darker than the darkest comic working today. It’s just that this particular bit strikes me as stupid, not dark. I don’t find it funny in the least. How can I? It reminds me of the day Andrea called, having purposely waited until after I’d moved,Andrea to tell me she had lung cancer. It also now reminds me of Susan, who died in January of ovarian cancer. In 20 years—or even just 10—when Silverman’s friends really are trying to tell her about the lumps in their breasts or livers and balls and throats, I doubt they or she will be laughing.

I can just hear Silverman protest that everything is grist for the comedy mill. But it’s not like she offended me; I just don’t think it was funny. It shows a decided lack of not just maturity, but intelligence. And if she wants her audience to grow older with her, rather than have to play forever to a room of 30-somethings, she’ll have to drop that kind susan's memorial 1of material. Maybe she has no intention to still be doing comedy when she’s older, unlike the eternally stage-stomping Joan Rivers. But she might have to: she might have to still make a living that way. As Marc Maron put it in a recent bit, “Wait’ll you have no more Plan B’s.” He’s nearing 50, a little young I thought to run out of Plan B’s, but maybe I think so only because the full force of that truth didn’t hit me until 60. It was just a few years ago when I noticed my life is no longer moving in an upward trajectory, that I’m no longer looking for The Next Thing. Apparently it happens to the best of us.

WTF invented this system?

Preaching to the younger generation, however, was never on my list of Plan B’s, so I hope they take this rant with a grain of salt—not, and I sincerely mean this, a dose of chemo.

About marcys

I'm a writer. What do I write? Words. I write words.

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