Tickle My Funny Bone

I seem to have lost my sense of humor. I believe it fell by the wayside somewhere between the practical joke played on a hospital nurse taking care of Princess Kate in England and the “Saturday Night Live” skit involving Jesus Christ returning from the dead seeking vengeance on those who crucified Him.

I guess I just don’t get it. Call me an old party-pooper, go ahead. I have broad shoulders and have developed thick skin at my age so I can take your insults. We are all entitled to our opinions. I express mine by turning off the TV when I’ve had enough.

Retailers J.C. Penney and Sears have elected to show their disdain for such crap by pulling their advertising from “Saturday Night Live.” Nothing grabs attention like a punch in the pocketbook. I would guess there wasn’t much laughing at NBC after that news.

I can’t deal with what some consider to be funny today. Every comedy show on the tube involves taking verbal aim at someone else. This cheap shot approach doesn’t always work for me. An entire industry of psychiatry and rehab centers have arisen from the ashes of people broken down by some type of cruelty in their lives. Is it really entertaining?

The late great comedian Bob Hope was the master at making us laugh. He poked fun at politicians around the globe but he never picked on their wives or husbands or children. He did not make it personal, only universal. He might have bent the rules of polite society, but it never made you blush or feel like you had to visit the confessional after watching his performances.

Red Skelton, Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett offered us slapstick comedy that often required no words to make us laugh. Throw in comedian Tim Conway and you have a real laughfest on your hands. Silly? Sure. But pretty harmless, too.

I still laugh out loud when I watch the “Andy Griffith” episode where Barney, Andy and Goober investigate an old mansion believed to be haunted only to end up catching some good old boys making moonshine. It’s classic country humor with no bad dreams to follow.

Or how about when Laura Petri allows her curiosity to get the best of her when she opens a package mailed to her home but addressed to her husband on the “Dick VanDyke Show.” As the box opens, a self-inflating fishing raft begins to fill the room. We laugh because we all know that could have been any one of us in a similar situation.

Humor is subjective, a matter of opinion and preference. Plenty of people enjoy being “punked” or watching senior citizens acting a fool for laughs. Respect of any kind is really losing hold in today’s world. People spend thousands of dollars to get dressed up to walk the red carpet for the Emmy awards in Hollywood but won’t remove their hats when the national anthem is being sung or pull up their droopy pants when they walk into a funeral home.

Health professionals say laughing is good for our health. Where’s Art Linkletter when you need him?

Heather Ziegler can be reached via e-mail at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.