Friday, October 09, 2009

Jugglers are Funny

Last night, I went to the local branch of Kent State University to cover a story for Small Town Newspaper. The local hospital was hosting what they called "a get-together for cancer survivors," and they brought in a comedian/juggler, Scott Burton, who was also a cancer survivor.

I was allowed to speak to him before his show, and the man, someone my age who had a form of cancer about 15 years ago that is typically found in children, was a wise soul. He didn't want to make light of cancer or suggest it's something that can be laughed away, but he recognized that humor is a natural human response and cannot be left out of something even as bad as a scary disease. It's healing and humanity, he said.

During his routine, he was clearly talking to the survivors in the room, and he drew plenty of laughs. I am not part of this club of sorts, and I found that when he talked about laughing at bad times, I wanted to cry. When he said the word "cancer' is frightening, I found it was terribly sad. Seriously, I wanted to shed tears in the audience where everyone else was guffawing at jokes and visual humor.

I wonder why that is? I think I have a pretty fair sense of humor, and I can laugh as an antidote to tragedy like anybody else, but in that setting, I was choked up. I was relieved when the guy switched from his comedy routine to juggling, which was also funny. I could focus on the pins in the air and the golf balls being shot out of his mouth. The rhythm of juggling is mesmerizing, I find, and I am always impressed by how a good juggler can use nearly every body part to keep with the beat they set for themselves.

No. 1 is quite an accomplished juggler, and I like watching her throw things into the air and catch them with such a steady pulse.

Well, back to the comedian—here is a quote of his lifted from an article he wrote for Coping magazine:

"Part of what gives laughter credence is, when we laugh, we let ourselves go. We are not so much in control anymore. We lose ourselves. Our fears dissipate."

Last night during our private interview, he said that when we laugh, we are momentarily filled with something other than ourselves. And who couldn't stand some of that?


dive said...

Jugglers are weird.
Funny, yes, but weird.
I base my prejudice on having played a season with a cabaret act of coedy jugglers, one of whom would finish his act with some escapology by being handcuffed, naked but for a thong, into a sack which was then chained up and emerging seconds later, un-cuffed and somehow dressed in full fat-Elvis regalia: suit, boots, wig, shades, rhinestones and false, hairy stomach; none of which he took into the sack with him.
Never could figure that one out.
He did, however, teach me how to make pornographic balloon animals, for which I shall be eternally grateful.

Lynn said...

Indeed, Robyn. I would have been choked, too.

I love juggling! My youngest son (and my middle son too) is better than I though, he juggles quite expertly with professional balls, pins and just tonight he told me he's going next for glass bottles. Oh gosh how does a Mum not worry? lol......

savannah said...

"Part of what gives laughter credence is, when we laugh, we let ourselves go. We are not so much in control anymore. We lose ourselves. Our fears dissipate."

i'm going to print this out and carry it with me, sugar! 80/20, right? thanks! xoxoxoxo

MmeBenaut said...

Hear, Hear Robyn!! I had cancer when I was 26 but luckily had a brilliant surgeon who removed it all. But when I laugh, un-selfconsciously, my smile is very crooked from slight damage to my left facial nerve. You won't see this is any posed photos though - I did my exercises; still do, not that they help much any more.
I can't juggle. I can barely throw. Sometimes when I'm feeding the bird, I forget to let go of the ball of mincemeat and it ends up on the roof instead of under the oak tree. Not that that worries the birds of course.