Sunday, November 12, 2006

Make 'em Laugh, Make 'em Laugh

They say that laughter is the best medicine, right? It reduces blood pressure, stress hormones and releases endorphins. Music can have the same impact for people.

I've always admired people with a natural sense of humor. My brother-in-law (who looks like a younger Tom Bergeron) is very funny, which helped him a lot in his career in sales. There is manic funny like Robin Williams, comfortable funny like Bill Cosby in his heyday and dry humor like the VP of Human Resources at my previous company. The people who can be funny naturally even though that isn't the main part of their entertainment focus are the ones I am drawn to. Donald O'Connor could act and dance and sing, yet he found a way to do it with great humor. It set him apart from the leading man types that he always worked with. What he did was a lot harder, in my opinion.

They say acting in comedies is a lot harder than acting in dramas. “Funny” is a personal thing, so what is one person's knee slapper is another person's “I don't get it.” I think you need a Y chromosome to appreciate The Three Stooges. I'm most impressed with good improv. We saw a touring company of Second City around here this year and 80% of the show was scripted and then they played off audience suggestions for the rest. To me that took great comedy writing, incredible concentration and really good instincts. My husband commented that everyone should get 90 minutes of pure laughter like that once a day. I often get that for 90 seconds each morning when he holds up what he thinks is a color coordinated outfit for my approval.

I'd forgotten how funny Michael J. Fox is until I saw him a year or so ago on Inside the Actor's Studio. He's got this baby face which surprises some people when they hear a rather bawdy sense of humor. Political humor is perhaps my favorite topic and he has managed to take a very serious issue and find the humor in it as well, especially after some people couldn't resist shooting from the hip as an automatic reflex. I guess that happens when your brain is disconnected from your mouth. Oh wait, this isn't a political blog...sorry!

For me, Clay's humor combines a lot of these elements. He has incredible instincts and in concert plays off any funny moments that might crop up. In his Jukebox Tour concerts in 2005, he did a bit just during a Motown Medley where he found a guy who had been dragged there by his wife or girlfriend and went out in the audience and bantered. Each night was different and each night was funny. Here's some highlights:

Clay's humor is very snarky and so some people don't quite get it at first. What amazes me about him on talk shows is that he is quick to pick up something the host says and run with it. He can completely take over his time with Leno or Kimmel as witnessed here in the numerous times they have invited him for “couch time”, which is rather unusual for the musical guest. It's fun to watch older clips and see his maturity in both age and in his comedic timing,which was always quite good but now is as good as many seasoned entertainers. He's a storyteller.

These two clips are broken into the years 2003/2004 and 2005/2006.

In concert, he plays off whatever is happening at the time. Many say he reminds them of a young Johnny Carson.

People ask me why I go to so many concerts. They get that he's a great singer. But I tell them that the humor in the concerts is so much a part of it as well that no two shows are a like. I hope that never changes. Music and laughter-yeah, by the end of the night I've got endorphins spilling out of my ears.

To catch Clay in concert, he will be singing with symphonies in the Northeast and midwest in December.

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Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't post twice but even if it does, I just want Corabeth and Nanjeanne to know that I loved this! Thank you so much.

The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

That was such fun - no matter how many times I watch these clips - they always make me smile and usually laugh out loud. That was a real treat!

Anonymous said...

judyj said: that was so much fun, I love those clips! I don't know how many times I have watched them, but it has been a lot and each time I watch them I laugh just as hard. He is a fantastic entertainer! He is the whole package! Thanks so much for posting these.

STPteach said...

Thanks for the reminders as to why this man can so easily put a smile on my face and make me giggle out loud!

Pink Armchair said...

This was great! I loved revisiting these moments. Clay really is a natural comedian and it's a big reason why you shouldn't miss a concert if you can possibly get there. Thanks for putting these together. And CB, your treatise on comedians reminds me of a saying one of my theatre directors liked to use: "An onion can make you cry, but no vegetable can make you funny."

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Anonymous said...

Many celebrities have "talent" and many talented people never become celebrities. So when they do it often isn't any great news story. But when someone special comes along with so much talent who happens to become a celebrity and also happens to have "it" which I percieve to be PERSONALITY in spades then you've got something. Something special. Something that makes us laugh and swoon all at once. He's brilliant without even trying. He just "is".

Gingergirl said...

I forgot what a hoot he is!! Thanks for the memories..Good Job!!

Anonymous said...

These video clips were priceless! I should be writing report card comments and documenting medicaid contacts, but instead I'm sitting here watching these wonderful clips with a big smile on my face. Thank you, Corabeth and Nanjeanne, for all the work that went into assembling these videos.

:) anntherese54

huskerfalcon said...

Awesome clips, Corabeth... he is SO gifted in so many ways!! A treasure.

Jan D said...

I saw this link at the Clayboard so I came here. I have never laughed so much in my life watching all these clips! This brought back such memories. Clay is just a hoot. I could sit and listen to him all day long. I should be in bed cuz I'm having surgery in the morning. But they say that laughter is the best medicine, so after this, maybe I'll just cancel the surgery!Thanks for sharing these with us. I'm luvin' me some funny snarky Clay Aiken!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing back the JOY!

Anonymous said...

I repeat a previous poster's entry, "Thank you so much, Corabeth and Nanjeanne, for all the work that went into assembling these videos.

To revisit these fabulous moments, collected and edited by you, has been wonderful. Thank you. You have brought such a smile to my face and a warm feeling in my... ummm, heart.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this contribution to the Clay love. What a wonderful job you have done of collecting and editing. What better way to spend an evening that watching these over and over (and over again).

Thank you. Your efforts (which you would probably say are efforts of love) are so appreciated.


Anonymous said...

I want to leave you a message of thanks but I'm getting just a runaround of posting/choosing an identity/log in & publish/choosng and identity/ log in.... etc., that I am disappointed not being able to express my appreciation. Petrhaps this message will go SOMEWHERE.

Anonymous said...

Okay, it's not letting me log in so I'll do what (Judy) did.

Celebhith says: Clay is truly a natural and humorous banter seems to come so easily for him! He's quick on his feet (or on his butt, if he's sitting). He really is the total package(!), isn't he? Good lucks, amazing talent, good old Southern charm and a razor sharp sense of humor! No wonder I want him!!!

Anonymous said...

MrNan, you said it all & said it well.