Last night, Kealoha told me a joke at the dinner table. He spread his arms out and said he was Jesus on the cross. Then he said in a death groan “Peter! Peter come here!” The rest of the joke involved Jesus repeatedly asking Peter to come close and Peter anxiously coming closer to Jesus to hear Jesus’s last words and then finally Jesus whispers: “I can see your house. Over there.”
It’s a ridiculous joke. Sort of wrong and funny at the same time. My son was listening and of course, he repeated the joke but amped it up. Suddenly, he was a seven-year-old Jesus on the cross with his tongue hanging out and moaning and crying about “The nails! Oh, the nails! Peter! Come here! Arrggghhh!!” The joke somehow became horrifying.
To change the subject, Kealoha and I started whistling “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python in “The Life of Brian”. The kids wanted to know what the song was so Kealoha pulled it up on Youtube.
You know, you think humor is universal but then you sort of step back and see something in a new way. Like, what if I were a kid seeing this for the first time and the adults were all laughing. How would that affect me? Would this be future material in a therapy session?
The song started playing and I thought, uh, maybe shouldn’t show this to the kids. And then I had a conversation IN MY BRAIN with my son, explaining why this song is funny. ME: See, son, the men are all being crucified. They’re going to die. And it’s going to SUCK. They’re nailed to crosses and death just doesn’t get any worse than that. SON: What’s funny about that?
ME: Well, see, they’re experiencing the worst kind of pain possible and they start singing this little song and dance number about looking on the bright side of life. What’s the bright side of being crucified? Nothing! There is no bright side! And that’s the joke.
SON: That’s not very funny.
ME: It’s hysterical. In a sick, twisted sort of way.
Thankfully, I stopped myself before having this conversation with my son because I immediately realized that you just can’t explain genius like this song. You have to experience it. And we will just have to wait until my son is a little bit older to appreciate the depth of the humor.
I’m also hoping he doesn’t repeat the Jesus and Peter joke to anyone who’s super religious. They probably won’t think it’s funny.