Shopping the laughless blues away

Sometimes you have to know when to give up. I’m a humorist. I used to write serious newspaper editorials, and it still blows my mind how I could churn out clear logic and rhetoric on deadline week after week. And that was on top of all the regular news stories I had to write. Ah, to be 30 again… And over-caffeinated…

But one of the perks of leaving journalism was I no longer had to take things seriously. No, seriously! I still have convictions, of course, though most of the time I keep them to myself. Sometimes they creep into my work as satire. When that happens, it’s not so much writing as catharsis.

This past week, I had to come up with copy for my regular audio contribution to CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.” I was working and working on a piece about how the Syrian refugees heading for Quebec’s major cities should actually come to small towns like mine. We do potlucks!

The problem was, it wasn’t quite satire. In fact, I actually think this is a good idea. All those churches for sale around here: fixer-upper mosques!

In other words, it wasn’t that funny. I try to do funny. The more I pushed at it to make it funny, the more frustrated and depressed I became. That is not conducive to funny.

Finally, I gave up. Deadline was looming. Believe me, folks: deadlines work miracles. Here, instead, is what I came up with: nonsense about pre-Christmas shopping and funny voices. Once I committed myself to nonsense, I wrote it in no time. I got out of my own way — quite literally; rather than just me, I created personas to speak on my behalf. Which is great because, as I’ve said before, I do get tired of myself sometimes. Thank you, comedy!

The Syrians still made it in, by the way. Also: I talk about something called a Manbit.

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About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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24 Responses to Shopping the laughless blues away

  1. I so want the Aye Aye Phone!! I’m glad you were able to get out of your own way to write this.

  2. pinklightsabre says:

    I needed this, like a good nougat packed full of sweets, and nuts. Thank you, maestro.

  3. Where can I get a Manbit? I need 10, one for me and my sisters and one for my daughters and nieces. Best Christmas present ever!

  4. goldfish says:

    Funny is a fickle bitch. I seem to have lost mine. It ran away with my pith and wit.

  5. Elyse says:

    My little refugee doll. You’re brilliant.

  6. One man’s clear logic and rhetoric is another man’s ball of confusion. Perspective, sir!

    It’s a shame you feel constrained by levity. Can’t you churn out a serious piece once in a while or isn’t that what the CBC contracted for?

    • rossmurray1 says:

      “Hey, Jerry Lewis, why don’t you make a movie about a clown in a concentration camp?”
      Actually, it’s a good question. I think it’s because there is so much noise out there, most of it over-earnest and angry and convinced of its own truth. I think most black-and-white issues are grey as can be. So those convictions I speak of, perhaps I don’t have full confidence in them, which says something about my personality, perhaps. I mean, look how many times I’ve said “I think” and “perhaps” in this comment alone!

  7. I think I’ll buy a My Little Refugee and give it to my daughter this Christmas. She’s going to college next year, so she can take it with her. Win-Win.

  8. byebyebeer says:

    It is a good idea. I like how you still worked it in here. Nice work.

  9. Where do I go to get a my-little-refugee doll? Are these only available in Quebec???

  10. R. Todd says:

    “My name is Louie.” I snorted out-loud with that one. This was awesome.

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