Thoughts on Laughter: The Brad Witbeck Edition
The duty of comedy is to correct men by amusing them. – Moliere
I think that one of the things that I value most in life is the opportunity to laugh. If there is one thing that lightens the load of everyone in one quick moment, it is laughter. Throughout my life, I have experienced a great deal of happiness because of laughter.
I come from a very funny family. They are all a little bit ridiculous in their own ways, and I love them for it. We are all pretty diverse, and just the stark difference between my family reunions growing up taught me a lot about how comedy is the sudden realization of an incongruity. It allowed me to see too that humor could cure a lot of pain. Many long car trips to Canada were made much shorter by the fun and laughter my family could share along the way. Ha, some were even longer when the laughter wasn’t there. This made me want to develop a way to find humor in everything I could.
So, fast-forward from my childhood to the time that I ran for Student Body President of my middle school. Now, I know that that is not an extremely intense competition, but that is where I really discovered the power of comedy. In a manner remarkably similar to Napoleon Dynamite, I ended up running against the most popular girl at my school.
What is best about this is that I, for some odd reason, decided it would be a good idea to dress up like George Bush and advertise why people should vote for me in that way. Long story short, it worked. I somehow ended up winning, and I think it had more to do with jokes than anything else, because I was not a popular kid, and not a lot of people even knew who I was.
I think I learned an important thing from that. I learned that we remember funny stuff more easily than we might remember pretty much anything else. This led me to explore comedy more as I went through High School.
While I was the improv team captain at my High School, I learned a lot about thinking on my feet and quickly looking at things from different angles. It helped me learn more than I think I ever could have learned without comedy, and it made study groups a heck of a lot more fun. By applying comedy in a lot of aspects of my life, I think it has been greatly improved, and I want others to have that too.
After my High School experience, I spent two years in New York City, where I used comedy differently than I really ever had before, and at the end of that two years, when I was coming back to BYU, I had a friend tell me that I should get involved in Divine Comedy. I thought that sounded fantastic, so I did!
I firmly believe that comedy has a great opportunity to influence us for good. I think that the kind of jokes we tell actually tell a lot about us. I am so excited to be a part of this cast, where we have an opportunity to make some wonderful comedy. It is my hope that as we keep going forward, more of what we do will benefit people, in giving them good things to laugh at and share with those they love.
So back to that quote I shared at the beginning. I think that every time we learn something new, we are admitting that we either didn’t know something before or that we were wrong, but there has got to be a fun way to do that. I think that since the duty of comedy is to correct men by amusing them, there is no better way to learn than by laughing.