Last night, I had a dream that I was at my high school. But my high school was filled with Chinese students who were fluent in English. Well, I believe they must have been fluent based on what happened (aka they all seemed to understand me). The dream had to of been taking place for quite some time, and it was clear that I was still an English teacher.
I was instructed that I would be assisting with some sort of movie. This meant that I could have been simply watching a movie with students, helping them create a student production, producing a movie of my own, analyzing a movie, running a movie seminar…it could have been anything. And despite the fact that I was dreaming and can’t remember the details, I’m sure it wouldn’t have mattered. One thing in China never changed: details of events were never concrete and they were always subject to change despite how central I would or would not be to its completion. So when I walked into the theater and was escorted up onto stage to run a completely different program, I didn’t hesitate. I was to be the comedy act.
As a stand-up comedian, I got off to a pretty slow start. Furthermore, I can’t remember any jokes that I told, but I do know that the crowd eventually warmed up to me. I stuck to what I knew: teaching and my experiences. Although, there were a few odd things happening: 1 – I couldn’t stand up straight. I kept wobbling and thinking I would fall over as if I was extraordinarily drunk. And 2 – When the bell rang and everyone sprinted out mid-joke (which infuriated me because I’m sure it would have been hilarious), I was shirtless. I really don’t believe I was standing there doing a comedy act without a shirt on, but who knows?
Even in the dream, I kept thinking about jokes that would have worked well. I wondered, what would make my students laugh? In class, it always seemed easy to make students laugh. But standing before 1,000 students is a little more intimidating, especially knowing that the main goal is to make them laugh and not utilize comic relief as a way of enhancing a lesson.
When I woke up, I immediately thought, “Is comedy really that socially/culturally constructed, also?” In my last post, I talked about how having tan skin is desirable for Americans compared to pale skin for Chinese people, and is humor another aspect of life that is ingrained in us based on where we grow up? I hope so. I have seen Chinese comedy acts on TV and while I couldn’t understand what they were saying, these programs looked like nothing that would ever last in America. But what about something like: falling down. Everyone thinks watching someone fall down is funny. Don’t they? Can that really be a social construct? I hope not! I would hope that everyone everywhere, at least, finds that funny! When I say everyone, I mean the majority. Of course, there are always those people who fear that the “faller” injured himself/herself. Which can be a logical assessment of the situation, but after the initial shock of worrying passes, the event usually becomes funny in memory (I am talking of simple falling down…not tumbling down a 40 step staircase).
That’s all I have for the moment. I don’t want to bore you too much with my dream and subsequent curiosity on the matter.