RUMINATIONS: Seriously Humorous

Everybody needs to laugh — the more the better.

Published August 23, 2012 5:00 AM
2 min read

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Everybody needs to laugh — the more the better.


By John A. Schwarz

 

Everybody needs to laugh — the more the better.

 

I recently heard something funny which I’ll pass on to you a few sentences down the road. It occurred to me, after hearing it, that there was a wonderful cartoonist when I was growing up, who drew the most fantastic cartoons that were invariably accompanied by very funny comments by one of the characters. His humor was dark and his characters macabre. Many of his cartoons appeared in The New Yorker. Those of you under 50 know his name because of movies and TV shows based on his characters. However, it’s quite possible you never saw his cartoons. Your bookstore or Amazon will be able to get you a copy of “Addams and Evil” by Charles Addams published in 1947. You’ll scream with laughter when you look at it and then read the comments underneath the cartoon. It’s a fun coffee table book to own or to give to someone who has a good sense of humor.

 

I play men’s doubles three times a week year round. After we had finished playing recently, one of my pals in the foursome asked me if I had ever heard of a comedian named Spike Milligan. I said I had heard the name but had never seen him perform. (He is buried, interestingly, in Rye. Not across the street from where we live but in Rye, England.) My friend went on tell me that before Milligan, who died ten years ago, had requested an epitaph on his gravestone. It read: “I Told You It Was Serious.”

 

I laughed out loud and laugh every time I think of it. It turns out that Milligan was a member of the extremely popular “The Goon Show” with Peter Sellers, worked with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and was the inspiration for John Cleese. Milligan was an incredibly funny man with a Charles Addams’ sense of humor. If you didn’t find his epitaph funny, then don’t bother getting “Addams and Evil.”



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