“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b KJV
“Comedy is tragedy plus time.” –Carol Burnett
My son and I were talking yesterday about how much more difficult it was to pull off comedy than drama. It’s easy to make people cry, because everyone has suffered to some degree at some time in their lives.
As far as books and movies go, a Nicholas Sparks story can bring anyone to tears. He tells tales about love that suffers through unthinkable tragedy and endures somehow—even through the loss of a partner.
The thing is, even if we haven’t gone through the same tribulation, we all can certainly imagine losing a loved one, and just thinking about that can make us misty.
The more difficult task is seeing that same devastation and finding humor in it. I think Carol Burnett is correct in her method—time. Time heals. Time provides wisdom and hindsight. Time provides perspective.
Somewhere in all of that, we tend to find humor. We, as humans, crave joy and laughter. We need it to survive. We need it to make sense of all the bad stuff we deal with every day. Let’s face it, there’s so much terror in this world that we don’t have to look very far to find something to make us cry. Finding something that makes us smile and laugh is a treasure.
That’s why truly beautiful comedies are rare. They require a great story and perfect timing. The best comedies incorporate lots of other emotions, too. They satisfy.
One of my favorite comedies is Mr.Blandings Builds His Dream House, (1948) starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. This film follows a couple who fall in love with the American dream of owning a home, and the nightmare that accompanies it.
As a home designer, I recommend this film to my clients as a way to see what they are about to undertake. It’s slightly exaggerated, but not too much.
We laugh as the characters go through one ordeal after another, because we’ve all been in similar situations.
Of course, it wasn’t funny when we were going through it, but to see Cary Grant and Myrna Loy crammed into a teeny-tiny bathroom—with her primping and him trying desperately to shave in the same minuscule mirror—we can’t help but laugh.
Perspective. Time. Joy.
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.