Monday, November 24, 2008

Silly = Natural

In one of her posts which champion and extol the virtues of Improv use in daily life, Danielle Mari wrote:

Guerrilla theatre brings theatre to those who need it most: those unconverted, uninitiated few wandering through life unaware that it's completely possible (and even beneficial) to rearrange perspective, stir reality, and shake things up a bit.
[Whole post here.]

As I commented on the post, I find it horribly sad that such a mindset exists. These people, I suppose, are the same type who would turn their nose at fantasy. If it’s not “real” than why bother, right? Wrong! Fantasy and nonsense are vital components in a person’s well-being.

Allow me to quote two of the silliest people who ever lived.

Mike Meyers:
Silly is you in a natural state, and serious is something you have to do until you can get silly again.

I had originally heard him say this on Inisde the Actor’s Studio. He attributed the idea to his father. (He also said that his father and brothers told him ‘You’re not funny, Michael. Stop trying.’ Can you imagine what THEY must be like??) I also recall the notion that the inclination to repress silliness is what is wrong with the world. I agree.

Dr. Seuss:
I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities.

What would the world be without the wacky but poignant doses of the best medicine from the good doctor?

I’ve actually known people to be annoyed with silliness. Sure, one can argue it has a time and a place. But then one could also argue that bringing levity to any situation cannot be entirely construed as a bad thing. It also brings to mind the great Monty Python skit Confuse-A-Cat. Despite its inherent wackiness, the overlaying message is a severe one. It’s all too easy to get bogged down by routine. If we cannot see beyond our noses like the people in the City of Reality in Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth [another great source of profound silliness] then how can we know we’re alive?

...the most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that. Then one day someone discovered that if you walked as fast as possible and looked at nothing but your shoes you would arrive at your destination much more quickly. Soon everyone was doing it. They all rushed down the avenues and hurried along the boulevards seeing nothing of the wonders and beauties of their city as they went.

No one paid any attention to how things looked, and as they moved faster and faster everything grew uglier and dirtier, and as everything grew uglier and dirtier they moved faster and faster, and at last a very strange thing began to happen. Because nobody cared, the city slowly began to disappear. Day by day the buildings grew fainter and fainter, and the streets faded away, until at last it was entirely invisible. There was nothing to see at all
- The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster

Bringing fantasy and craziness is not just the job of comedians and authors. It’s a duty of all humans. We must have a reality that shines with silly, lusters with laughter and is filled with fantasy.

If we cannot laugh and play, then we are truly lost.

Be sure to read Danielle Mari’s insightful post if you have not already.
The videos alone are worth it.

Here's the video for Confuse-A-Cat.


Danielle Mari said...

a. I'm tickled senseless at being quoted.
b. Love all three of your silly quotes.
c. Might I also add a Robin Williams quote of the same ilk? “You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.”
d. Haggard hippos hurling huge hyperboles heavenward help hopelessly hiccuping hamsters. (Just to be silly, of course.)
e. The code I have to type in? "bread"-- silly in its normalcy, no?

Danielle Mari said...

Hee hee... this just popped into my head unbidden:

Please! Super-silly-us!

And the word I have to type in your thingy is "skereous"