"Comedy has a variety of definitions; not everybody gets them" by: Jessica Shepard

   Often, when it comes down to writing my column from the week I draw from something that has happened in my life or drawn my interest.
   A few years ago, I used to tell my mom that I was going to quit college and become a stand-up comedian.
   That hasn’t really panned out due to my overwhelming stage fright.
   I’ve made a few trips onto the stage in college, or at least the rectangle of tape on the carpet that served as a stage in my communications classes.
   I learned early on that if you don’t hold your audience’s attention, then they won’t hear you.
   Just like the first note of a song filling the air a single audience-appropriate joke can give you their undivided attention or bore them to tears.
   While my jokes aren’t particularly stellar and mostly flow from a sort of “stream of consciousness” or “living in the moment feeling;” I usually go for something common and quick.
   That’s the benefit I garnered from reading so much at such a young age.
   It forced me to expand my vocabulary and gave me a chance to help understand what makes people tick.
   Sure, most of my humor is dry and sarcastic, but, there are times when I can appreciate a terrible pun for its linguistic complexity.
   I mean, there are puns and jokes so bad that you laugh at their sheer stupidity!
   One time in class we were asked to pretend we had a super power and to explain it to the class for three minutes or so.
   I told them that I was a ninja – I could hear and see everything they did while reading a book and not being noticeable.
   Technically, it was a combination of being hyper-observant and said people being very loud – otherwise known as eavesdropping.
   But, is it really eavesdropping if someone is so loud you can hear them across the room?
   Needless to say when I remarked on what I had heard and who had said it, everyone paused and took notice.
   I even repeated someone’s conversation word for word!
   My professor told me that no one had ever made a speech like that and the next time the class met there was a marked decrease in loud voices.
   I suppose it wasn’t fair to call my classmates out so blatantly, but, it certainly served a point.
   I could concentrate more on my reading and work instead of having to tune them out.
   But, I did earn a few laughs from the other students who had noticed and my professor certainly enjoyed the quiet that followed.
   Glorified eavesdropping – or being a ninja, does lend itself to creating the framework for other jokes.
   After all, how can you use someone’s terrible drunk excursion as the base for a joke if you can’t hear them?
   It just always seems easier to laugh at someone else other than ourselves.
   Even though we might have experienced the same thing, it just sounds better out loud and requires less introspection. 

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