Growing up in my parent’s house, humor was valued. It was more important to say a funny line at the right moment, for example, than it was to chew your food before you spoke. This helped hone my comic timing, but did cause some problems later when I started to date.
I became somewhat of an expert on jokes after I created the web series “Old Jews Telling Jokes” and it expanded to become a book, several DVDs and an off-Broadway play. While on my book tour, I became fascinated with not only the form of jokes, but also the way people use jokes both to communicate and to avoid personal connection. This experience led me to use jokes as the structural spine of Humor Me.
I grew up watching the great comedies of the 1970s and 1980s. Movies like Annie Hall, Harold and Maude, Broadcast News, MASH, Diner and Sixteen Candles. These movies were all funny, but while you may enjoy the laughs, it is the truth of their characters and the craft of their construction that has allowed them to become timeless.
My intention with Humor Me was to tell a story both current and classic. The themes of the story are eternal: fathers and sons, the measuring of success and the inevitability of life’s challenges and how we approach them. Yet the scenario could not be more current. A man, on the cusp of middle age, adrift in his career and broke, abandoned by his more successful wife and forced to figure out his life in the home of his widower father.