A good joke, as I’ve said many times, requires a butt—a person, place, or thing around which the punch line revolves. A stereotype on which everyone can agree. “An Irishman, a Greek, and an American walk into a bar.” You can bet that one of them will come out badly in the end.
I take full blame. In the throes of uncontrollable laughter, my friend hiccupped, “My mascara must be down to my knees!” It was. All because I’d told a funny story. The problem? We were at a funeral—a solemn, unsettling place where death tickles us under the chin and reminds us our turn is coming. Eye makeup often flows here—from tears. But from jokes? Consider this: when the horrifying becomes too intense, humor offers a release.