There’s not a day going by when we are not bombarded with jokes through Facebook, WhatsApp or other social media outlets. Billions of such gags, funny yarns and wise cracks travel cyber space tirelessly round the clock hoping that at their journey's end they will evoke laughter to the recipient! And since most are undoubtedly funny, the world should I dare say be rollicking, rolling and rebounding with chuckles and titters all the time!
But I hear no such laughter!
No, giggles, no guffaws when a joke is read on screen! Sometimes, nay oftimes there's no trace of even a smile! Which brings me to the conclusion there's nothing like listening to witticism being said for a really good chuckle!
Your computer screen just can't replace someone who can crack joke well!
Sometime ago I was with a friend celebrating his fiftieth birthday. He'd decorated his compound, fitted lights on plants and trees, making it look like a bit of fairyland, and in the middle sat my friend the Fairy King!
I entered with the sound of loud laughter and knew he was doing what he was best at, regaling his audience with his wit.
I decided to watch the master comedian at work.
He was repeating a joke I'd seen often on email, but what a difference there was; I knew many in the audience had also read the same joke yet they waited with baited breath as the master unravelled the next line and the next and the next. They laughed, they nervously giggled and then I watched as the master paused.
He held out his hands to a little baby being carried by its mother. The audience watched; as the baby was taken from its mom, placed in a comfortable position in his arms, kissed on its cheek, and then the story continued.
No one breathed during this pause.
He stopped again and this time because someone in his audience had said something, my friend turned to him, laughed with him, gave a repartee to what had been said, and then as if nothing had happened returned to his banter.
A husband in the group turned with annoyance to his wife who was calling out to him from a table nearby, but the master joker just turned to her, said something witty; I gasped, he'd cracked a joke within a joke, and then returned to the original.
And then at the end, we all burst out laughing as he delivered the punch line with a flourish.
Let me tell you, no email or WhatsApp joke in the world can beat a master storyteller or good joker as he or she goes about their job.
And do you know why? Because, I think, they have a joy within, which spills out and enthuses others with the jokes they tell. It’s not just the joke, it’s the joker..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at [email protected]