Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dying Is Easy

Comedy Is Hard: Gail Rubin makes dying easy.  Boy, does that not sound right.  However: Gail Rubin, aka The Doyenne of Death, is the author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, a book that really takes a lot of the pain out of ... you know ... the process.

Gail points out - on her website, A Good Goodbye, and on her blog, The Family Plot - that just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals won’t make you dead.  And your family will benefit from the conversation.

The "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard." quote may be attributed to Jack Lemmon.  Or to Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole, in "My Favorite Year").  Or to Art Buchwald, who also said "Dying is easy.  Parking is hard."

It's important to bring Jack Lemmon into this post, so Abq Jew can also bring in his favorite Walter Matthau story:
Jack Lemmon told a story that he was working on a movie with Walter Matthau and Walter was doing some sort of minor stunt and accidently fell on his back and hurt himself. He was lying on the ground in agony, and everyone told him to stay still while they got the doctor. Lemmon leaned over and said, "Walter, are you comfortable?" and Matthau replied, "Oh, I make a living."
Now, Gail Rubin is here in this blog post because both Gail and Abq Jew were among the 120+ present at Congregation Albert last Sunday when Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld gave his lecture "Being Human - Living Creature or More?". 

Gail has written an excellent blog post, What Makes Us Human?, about that event - thereby (theoretically, at least) relieving Abq Jew of his responsibility to do the same.  Thanks, Gail!

Turning philosophical, Abq Jew has questions:  Everyone knows The Ultimate Answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything: 

So why is comedy hard?  And: Can anyone, anywhere, do anything to make comedy even a little bit easier?

The answer to the first question is: I Don't Know (Third Base). 

The answer to the second question is:  Yes. Ben Taxy, teacher of the Santa Fe Improv Players, can.  Ben is offering two free improv classes - August 1 (for actors) and August 2 (for writers).

You can read more about Ben and the Santa Fe Improv Players here.

Abq Jew makes no claims about Ben or these classes.  But Ben is Jewish, and Jews are funny.  He's in Santa Fe, and he wrote me a nice email and asked for a bit of publicity.

So let me remind potential advertisers:

One final thought: Abq Jew can find no Talmudic or post-Talmudic source that unequivocally (or even equivocally) prohibits laughter during the Three Weeks, or even during the Nine Days.  But then, he didn't look very hard.

No comments: