Fake it ’til you make it real
“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that… Yes, yes, it’s the most comical thing in the world. And we laugh, we laugh, with a will, in the beginning. But it’s always the same thing. Yes, it’s like the funny story we have heard too often, we still find it funny, but we don’t laugh any more.”-Samuel Beckett, Endgame
So, the world wide web, that tireless stage AND often anonymous audience, has perhaps hastily judged the ratings champion Jimmy Fallon “that funny story we’ve heard too often, but we don’t laugh anymore” — unless we’re Jimmy Fallon.
Real or fake?
Maybe we of the world wide web’s interactive legions might best judge this video from Charisma on Command using old Sam ‘Godot’ Beckett as our guide to funniness and its theatrical cousin, unhappiness. Maybe then we’ll be able to better diagnose this electronic icon as either faking it or making it a happier world, both on that plasma screen and the still “real” world’s eyes viewing and rating it.
Okay, let’s first define our terms: charisma — personal magnetism, charm.
How many times has someone like Jimmy made you feel, well, charmed? And at such times did you feel a kind of envy, even resentment — why can’t I do that? Aha, maybe Sam was onto something here; his invisible Godot certainly had that sort of charm, enough to make two rather unhappy fellows wait.
Why can’t I do that?
What are we waiting for? Why can’t we overcome our bouts of unhappiness with “overwhelming positivity”, like Jimmy Fallon is demonstrating? Yes, he’s got a mix of talents he’s all too happy to share, but is he truly happy to simply display them at will, or is this his way of masking some indefinable unhappiness, like the kind most people experience?
Voila! The folks at Charisma on Command have a four step program for dealing with any relatively unhappy situation by finding the humor that lurks either within it or outside that unhappiness. Let’s call it The Fallon Syndrome.
Catch the Fallon Syndrome
1. Watch videos that make you laugh. Okay, confessional — this writer thinks Carlin or, if too real, Dangerfield. Yours?
2. Celebrate stupid little things. Here the wise grandma advice comes into play: “If you don’t like yourself, how can anyone else like you?” So enjoy the things you enjoy, and you’ll find yourself able to be amused by others’ equally trivial things. It’s like in that movie ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, we’re all you-know-what.
3. Avoid nit-picking cynicism. Guilty as charged here — “look at that tie,” etc. Grandma, again, but this time, “if you can’t think something nice, don’t…” you know the rest, and that it’s a “do the right thing” thing (kudos, Spike Lee). So even if you’re not laughing out loud with someone’s little story/comment, you may politely smile, with sincerity, recalling how many times you’ve been there, undone that. Empathize, even if not like Jimmy with his extreme bundle of talents.
4. Laugh as a compliment. Here’s the old dilemma we’ve all fretted over: laughing with versus at me. Play it again, Sam: “And we laugh, we laugh with a will in the beginning.” The charm is to receive that quip you’ve just heard for the tenth time as if it was the first. Think of it as charisma, for amnesiacs.
In the end — and the beginning — we’re all drawn to happiness, especially when it’s like waiting for Godot.