And make plans to vote, too

I’m glad that I don’t have a television, and it’s partly because there are some things I don’t have an opportunity to watch. One of these things is the Late Late Show with host Craig Ferguson. I love this comedian, and if I had a TV I would be hard pressed to let a day go by without watching his program. As it is, I do the occasional search on YouTube for some recent monologues, and I get to enjoy them as a rare treat.

I also get to enjoy his comedy on another level, because Craig Ferguson is someone I admire. Much like John Stewart of the Daily Show, Craig Ferguson has made a name for himself as someone who uses his comedic talents and fame as a force for good. Besides, I love the Scottish accent.

I remember the first time I noticed this quality about Craig Ferguson. As a comic who does a lot of jokes about the news, he took a public stand against making fun of Britney Spears for her alcoholic behavior and drug abuse. I appreciate the fact that he decided to do his job in a joyful way instead of just going along with the common flow. His speech was touching, and I appreciated his personal story. I also think it was one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard about the difficult problem of alcoholism.

He most recently addressed the issue of why everyone should vote. I always vote, but I know many people who don’t. They see it as a game, something to use to poke fun at the system. Only a comedian like Craig Ferguson can explain how truly serious the whole thing is, and he understands this privilege in a special way. He recently became an American citizen. You may want to check out his work. I’ve attached two links.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

197. What can you do today to accomplish some sort of positive change in the universe where you live? Every action leads to others throughout the chain, and everyone has influence and the ability to influence the world. Do something today for the positive and pass it on.

Links, should you desire them:

“Ferguson speaks from the heart”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bbaRyDLMvA&feature=related

“If you don’t vote, you’re a moron”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdRVQ4xwwmQ&feature=related

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Productive and relaxing

I had a very productive weekend. I finally got everything unpacked that I wanted to get unpacked, and all the boxes in my little apartment have either been dealt with or tucked away for future projects. It feels great. I managed to get this done because I had a deadline. It really helps, as it’s so much easier to get ready to move than to unpack. You know you need to get it done by a certain time, so you do. Even so, I procrastinated, but I was finally able to barrel down due to audio books.

When I have a non-writing project to do at home, I’ll often borrow audio books from the library. That way I can be having fun while I tackle whatever it is that I happen to have been avoiding. I’m so glad I did that this time, too. Not only did I empty the boxes, I really loved the books I listed to. I’ve also become a really huge fan of comedian David Brenner.

I’ve always loved standup comedy, and I’ve always thought David Brenner to be funny, but I’ve never before understood how inspiring he can be. This weekend I listened to a book of his titled I think there’s a terrorist in my soup: how to survive personal and world problems with laughter—seriously (2003). I loved this book. I’ve always used my sense of humor to survive. It’s the only reason I’ve lived this long. David Brenner’s book gives specific examples of current world crises and explains how to find the humor in them. He also covers personal crises. I learned so much from listening to him, even while I laughed and laughed.

One example concerns his personal approach to worries about money. He said that his family always had two sayings. One was that if you worry about money, you’ll have money worries. Makes sense to me. His other saying was that instead of worrying about how to save money, you should focus on making more. That’s also very practical. If you’re feeling like the news is stressing you out and you just can’t seem to calm down, I’d suggest that you find this book right away. If possible, get the audio. Comedians are always so much funnier if you can hear them. I’d also suggest you stop listening to the news that’s stressing you out. When something hurts, you should stop doing it, right? Makes sense to me.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

194. Next time a stressful situation comes up, see how you can find the humor in it, or use your sense of humor to deal with whatever is going on.

I exalt the fool

I was feeling a little overwhelmed this weekend, so I packed some boxes but decided not to push myself too hard. I’m ahead of schedule on moving duties, so I had time to take a day or two off. I needed it. Sometimes it’s more important to take time to feel better than it is to plow through. When I get some rest I’ll get a lot more done in a shorter time.

I read a mystery novel, I did some planning. Best of all, I watched comedy videos. I love stand-up comedians. I remember listening to Bill Cosby records as a kid. My best friend had them all, and we would laugh ourselves silly over Fat Albert and the story of Noah. As I grew up I bought my own records, falling in love with Dr. Demento, Allan Sherman and Tom Lehrer. I worshipped Steve Martin and Robin Williams when they first became popular, and once I had a television I would gravitate towards the programs that featured comedians.

I still love comedy albums, and I buy them used when I can find them. If someone is funny enough, I can listen to the routine over and over again. I’m still playing Bill Cosby. To my brother, Russell, whom I slept with is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard, and it has only gotten better with time. Yesterday I watched videos of Ron White and the Blue Collar Comedy tour. Ron White cracks me up—he knows just how to pause for maximum effect. I watched the Blue Collar Comedy Tour videos because of Ron White, but I found all four comedians funny.

I also find comedy interesting as an art form. As a writer, it intrigues me to see what I find amusing and why. I notice the structure of it, even as I’m laughing, and that helps me to use humor in my own speaking and writing. I really appreciate a performer who has perfected the craft of comedy. Making people laugh is hard work, and I don’t think people appreciate how vital stand-ups are to our national health. I certainly need them. By Sunday evening I’d gotten my sanity—and my sense of humor—back.  I think it was a very productive weekend.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

101. Find some stand-up comedy and prepare to laugh yourself silly. Did you like the comedian you chose? Why or why not?