I grew up watching Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Victor Borge, Tim Conway and Red Skelton. I call such comics geniuses of silly. There was no need to put someone down or attack another offensively or be overly crude or innanely sarcastic (which permeates today's comedy) in order to be funny. There was a sense of joy in what these folks did. Simple, silly and hysterical. Genius.
Lately, our local PBS has been running some classic Red Skelton moments. I want to share (paraphrased) with you a few pieces of his humor. It's difficult to fully get the scope of the humor when you aren't hearing the words come out of his mouth so all I can say is imagine the hysterical fluidity of his voice and face. I laugh so hard, I miss some of the lines that follow.
This particular joke, he's playing Freddie the Freeloader (FF). He's speaking to the gentleman (G) of whom he is giving a shave. I laughed for a long while after hearing this one.
FF: "I was talking with my friend the other day and looked down. Guess what I saw?"
G: I don't know. What did you see?
FF: What did I see? Why I saw an ear.
G: An ear?
FF: Yep. My friend says, 'Whose ear is it?' So I said 'Stick your finger in it and if it feels good, it's yours.'
He did these two characters, two seagulls by the name of Heathcliff (H) and Gertrude (G). Here's a couple of jokes using these two birds. When he would share these particular jokes, he'd position his arms like wings and use a silly voice.
(H): Hey Gertrude, did you hear what happened to my cousin Polly the Parrot?
(G): Uh, no. What happened to Polly the Parrot?
(H): She asked for a plain cracker and she got a "salted".
(G): Are you worried Heathcliff? You sure look worried.
(H): Oh yeah, I am worried.
(G): About what?
(H): Oh, I'm worried about Willy the Whale.
(G): Willy the Whale? What's wrong with Willy?
(H): Oh well you see, Willy's in love with a submarine.
(G): A submarine?
(H): Yeah. And whenever the sub fires a torpedo, Willy hands out cigars.