A sitcom I can readily relate to. I was flipping around the channels, and there it was.
I entirely “got” the comedy. I knew exactly what they were doing. Low concept. Naturalistic dialogue. It was precisely what it was. Minimal exaggeration. Identifiable characters. No overt meanness. No sniggering allusions.
It was my kind of show, doing and saying what people do and say, not just in situation comedies but in everyday life. And getting big laughs along the way.
I thought I would never see that again, believable situations, the jokes coming easily and unforced. The storyline was simple, involving a guy who wants to hire someone for a highly coveted job, and he finds the man slinging hash in a Chinese restaurant.
The guy offers him the job and the hash slinger turns it down, saying he is satisfied working right where he is, explaining,
“I’ve gotten three promotions this week.”
To which the guy trying to hire him replies,
“And this is what you’ve risen to?”
I love that joke. I call that “Reality Check” comedy. Which is my favorite kind of comedy. There is no stretching of reality. You say exactly what the situation requires and the laugh comes from its simply being true.
“Three promotions”, and he’s knee deep in moo goo gai pan?
That would not appear to be a job you turn down a highly coveted job to retain. Which, I probably don’t have to tell you, is the funny part. Because that’s exactly what he’s doing. (This is why I try to never be put in a position of explaining comedy. It’s like examining a snowflake. You end up with water on your microscope.)
And the joke I just quoted was no “stand alone” exception. There were numerous jokes like that. Sure, some of the comedy fell flat. But overall, I found myself laughing really hard. Dr. M was asleep and I had to hold myself still for fear of chortling her awake.
No matter how long you’ve done this, there’s a part of you that questions yourself. Especially if you haven’t worked in a while.
You know you’ve got something, but you feel out of sync what with you see is going on. You can't help thinking that maybe you might have "lost it."
And now, finally – vindication. A show I could totally identify with.
I knew I could do what they were doing. I could imagine an inevitable “adjustment process”, but I could see myself blending in easily with the show’s writing staff.
I knew what they were doing. And I was confident that I could do it myself.
Hey, Earlo, why don’t you jump out of retirement, and try for a job?
Not possible, my friend. I could never write for that show.
No, too young.
The sitcom I identified with? It was a rerun of The Jack Benny Show, filmed in 1964.
I’m telling you, I would really have fit in.