If you are a writer or a blogger, this happens to you all the time. Friends say things like, “Oh, why don’t you blog about the picnic we had last week; it was hilarious!” Or, “You know, our family is so funny, why don’t you put us in your blog?”
Well, let me tell you. Let’s just say that I have two friends. They are married. Their names are Fred and Edna. Fred and Edna Selvidge. Now Fred thinks he and Edna are incredibly funny. He has asked me on a number of occasions to write about them. He thinks they are both hilarious, actually.
But here is the thing. I am addressing this to all the Freds and Ednas out there. Humor can be cruel. The funniest things begin with something tragic. This is why comedians learn early on that skewering people who have issues is funny. However, skewering your friends isn’t wise.
For instance, we all love to laugh at nerds and geeks. Because they are a little tragic, aren’t they? With the duct tape on their glasses and the pocket protectors? But in truth, if your best friend Fred actually IS a geek, then making fun of him doesn’t play at all. And Fred’s feelings get hurt. Even if he goes to Lens Crafters to get new glasses, and his new ones are Ray Bans, Fred will never really get over the fact that you told the story about his glasses in your blog.
And the Ednas out there? The ones with unfortunate wardrobe choices or who dote just a little too much on their sons? I could write a book. But it wouldn’t make me feel good if Edna’s heart was broken because she recognized herself in the column I wrote about parents going with their children on their job interviews.
This is why Joan Rivers spent so much time talking about Edgar. And Phyllis Diller had Fang. Roseanne spent a lot of her stand up time talking about her unfortunate marriage. We could all relate. We died laughing. At strangers. Stereotypes.
The best comedians make fun of people, sure. But they choose their targets. Celebs. Their spouses. Their kids. But never Fred and Edna.
So this is why I am so grateful that my husband is both a geek and a nerd. And thank God he plays the accordion. Because although Fred and Edna think they might like to be in my blog, believe me, they wouldn’t like it.
Meanwhile, I have to go. The Accordionist is getting ready to practice. And if I hear “Lady of Spain” one more time, there may be a murder.