The Male Humorist's Responsibility to His Wife


An humorist seeks far and near for comic material. Because seeking far requires exertion, near is preferable. Consider home, for instance. The advantage of being a writer in the comedy game is that sitting around the house, making a mental list of desserts by height or wondering what it’d be like to walk on the ceiling, you can call it work. So look under your nose. If you don’t have a mustache, that means utilizing the family. Especially the little woman. Of course times being what they are, you probably shouldn’t call her “the little woman.” At the same time you can’t call her “the big woman.” Calling her “the woman” doesn’t sound right either. Perhaps it’s best to avoid calling her at all.

In any case remember that the relationship with your wife is a sacred bond, which you should never, ever exploit. But don’t be an idiot about it. Feel free to incorporate her in your comic stylings as long as you’re sensitive to her feelings. Or if sensitivity seems a waste of time and you’re pretty sure it doesn’t matter to her anyway, you can follow these simple guidelines.

First, don’t joke about your wife’s looks. She might be touchy about it for some reason, even when you point to attractive women in TV commercials as good examples. However it’s ok to joke if it’s a really good joke. Or if you’re totally making something up about her. For instance, if your wife doesn’t have big ears, how can she get irritated when you say she looks like Dumbo?

Second, old gags are ok. They’re classic, conveying wisdom of the ages. Take my wife. Please. (See how I did that? Slid a classic right in there.) However, if you’re uncertain if your wife has a proper appreciation for tradition, test a quip by telling it to family friends at a party, where the awed silence will show her how hilarious it is. You can also invite her to your local bar, where you spread merriment every night with jokes about her.

Third, as your helpmeet, she has her own responsibility, to do strange things on which you can base mirth-provoking witticisms. If she fails in this duty, exercise poetic license. As a purely random example, if some anonymous person you don’t know at all got stuck in a cabinet over your stove while testing whether it would hold the weight of your collection of bunny paperweights -- it’s only natural to rewrite the incident, with her as the stuckee.

These guidelines aren’t fool-proof, which you might need. So also gauge your wife’s reaction. If she says, “You’ve got to be kidding,” you know you’re on the right track. It means she appreciates your kidding. It’s even better if she blurts out “Oh, please!” That tells you she wants you to keep going, please.

One last tip: If for some inexplicable reason, none of this works, bear in mind that divorce proceedings are fertile ground for hilarity.