Dick Tracy: Whatever happened to good old laughter? | TheUnion.com

Dick Tracy: Whatever happened to good old laughter?

Dick Tracy
Columnist
Dick Tracy

We Americans need to laugh more. Ask yourself: “When’s the last time I had a good belly laugh?”

Remember the days when television was filled with shows like “Cheers” and “Barney Miller” and “Taxi” and “All in the Family” and “Laugh In”?

They didn’t need recorded laugh tracks like current shows. The writing and acting was great and they were truly funny.

I remember the time when Karla, the wise-cracking waitress at “Cheers” dreaded visiting the dentist, but came back to work all smiles. When Sam, “Cheers” owner, asked what happened she smiled: “I got in the chair and grabbed him where I knew I had his complete attention, and said, ‘Now, we’re not going to hurt each other, are we?’”

I think the current political climate in America has a lot to do with squelching laughter.

When asked what happened, she smiled again: “We have a dinner date Saturday night.”

I think the current political climate in America has a lot to do with squelching laughter.

But Donald Trump broke that barrier when he addressed the United Nations, saying, “In less than two years my administration has accomplished more than any other administration in the history of our country.”

It took a few seconds for translators to pass this unabashed praise on to waiting ears, but it created a response of healthy laughter. Seldom heard within those walls.

Aside from programs like NPR radio’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” I’ve heard very, very few good jokes in mainstream media.

The last I recall was of a girl telling her mother, “Mom, I’m not going to school today. I hate that school! Those kids laugh at me, tease me and call me names. I’m not going!”

To which the mother responds: “Honey, you have to go to school! You’re the teacher!”

At one time “blonde jokes” were popular, but politically correct finger-wavers put an end to them (OK, justifiably) as being unfair to those of a certain hair color.

Example: The Blonde is asked, “Which is further from California … Florida … or the moon?” To which she responds: “Florida!”

When asked why she gave that answer, she replies, smugly: “Can you see Florida from California?”

One of our most famous (and delightful) blondes, Dolly Parton, was asked: “Are you offended by blonde jokes?”

“Not at all,” she responded, “I know I’m not stupid … and I know I’m not blonde!”

Go ahead and chuckle.

Dick Tracy, who lives in Grass Valley, is a member of The Union Editorial Board. His views are his own and do not represent the views of The Union or its editorial board members. Contact him at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.


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