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Essay

The Genius of Jimmy

By August 29, 2014 No Comments
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I happened to turn on the Emmys the other night just in time to catch Jimmy Kimmel presenting an award. Only he didn’t just present… he broke into a comedy bit at the expense of Matthew McConaughey. If you’re interested here’s the clip:

Whenever anyone asks me how I’m doing lately I usually respond the same way: miserable. At first they don’t know what to say… and then I smile, which lets them relax. They get it—stupid question. I’m lugging around a ten pound swollen leg with a blood clot stuck in it somewhere… how do you think I’m doing? Comedy has a way of cutting through the pretense… comedians get to say stuff that none of the rest of us dare say, because they’re joking after all. My ten year old son seems to be mastering the comedian way. If we tell him to do something he doesn’t want to do, or doesn’t like, he give us a smart, sassy, answer. But before we can get angry he lets out s smile with a twinkle in his eye. ‘Wait… is he joking?” I ask myself. BY then it’s too late. He’s off. My wife blames my side of the family.

So while I’ve been dealing with my knee injury I’ve been watching Jim Gaffigan’s stand up. Funny guy, and he does it without the raunchy language, which is impressive. Everything from parenting to food snobs… saying stuff that we would never say. Like this riff on McDonalds:

 

Or this one on having kids:

 Kevin Smith opens his movie Dogma with a disclaimer: it’s a joke. God has a sense of humor, just look at the duck billed platypus. I’ve told students the same thing, only instead of the duck billed platypus I tell them to look around the room. Some find it funny, some get offended. “Is he calling us ugly?” No, of course not. I’m just saying let’s not take ourselves so seriously. How can we not look at the creation around us… the people around us—how can we not look in the mirror— and realize that the divine life includes a sense of humor?

Robin Williams thought so…

 

 

Jason Lief

Dr. Jason Lief teaches courses in Christian education and youth ministry. A Northwestern College graduate, he served as the chaplain for Pella (Iowa) Christian High School while earning a master’s degree in theology from Wheaton College Graduate School. He also completed a doctorate in practical theology from Luther Seminary. He previously taught theology and youth ministry at Dordt College for 10 years. Dr. Lief is the author of “Poetic Youth Ministry: Loving Young People by Learning to Let Them Go” and "Christianity and Heavy Metal as Impure Sacred Within the Secular West: Transgressing the Sacred.”

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