In high school, during a football game, sitting in the stands with the marching band one Friday night, bored to death waiting for a cue, I told friends I saw something that might be funny only to me. The image was of a child trying to take his sweater off but the collar was tight and stuck at his eyebrows. He was crying; one eye hyperextended as his mom yanked desperately at the sweater to get it off his head. We laughed so hard we were crying.
I was sitting at the corner of an after hours bar with several bartenders who’d just finished their shifts. You think bartenders are salty but they just wanted to play a game of drawing with our eyes closed. We laughed so hard at the results and I may still have those drawings somewhere.
A couple of friends and I met up at Shetal’s apartment in Williamsburg. Shetal’s the friend whose place you always end up at. Anyway, before we ended up at her place that night, my friends and I had spent the day at Coney Island, where I had a portrait painted by a street artist. The portrait was so accurate that my friends (siblings) decided they wanted one made, too, except their portrait looked exactly like mine and we realized that the artist had one specific style that I happened to match with my actual face. This was funny enough but as we showed Shetal the resulting portraits, we wondered if we could do any better, and challenged ourselves to draw each other with pencil and paper. Shetal was assigned me as her subject. She took a very long time, asked for silence, and kept telling me not to fidget so much. She took this very seriously.
This is the resulting sketch.
I housesat for my friends one Summer while they traveled somewhere exotic, and borrowed their car while there. Every time I started the ignition I was startled by how loud the music was. I thought it would be funny if I cued “Crucify” by Tori Amos and turned the volume up to maximum before turning the car off for the last time. About two days after they returned, and I was back at my own apartment, I got a call from them just laughing hysterically on the other line.
My mom always brings gifts to people. They’re usually small nothings, but it’s always something. One time she visited her accountant for a routine meeting, except she had just returned from one of her trips to Japan, and brought her accountant a crumpled brown paper bag, inside of which was a packet of instant ramen. She said she saw this unusual flavor and thought of him. I heard about this from my cousin, who was using the same accountant and saw him right after her. She was laughing the whole time telling the story to me.
Visiting a friend in college, he let me share his twin bed, and at this point I need to share that the friend is an unambiguously gay cis-man with no interest in women and hey we were what, 20? 19? Anyway, said friend had a roommate, who had an annoying habit of finishing Friend’s sentences, and one night as the three of us chatted the night away in our 2-to-1 configuration from bed, I started finishing the thoughts with the roommate in a whisper; only Friend could hear it. He was sobbing stifling his laughter at one point and the roommate couldn’t figure out what we were up to. I honestly feel a little bad about that.
In France, bored hanging out with friends doing nothing, I started read aloud from a dictionary as entertainment. I happened upon the word “coupe-legume” which is: un appareil qui coupe les légumes. That was the hardest I’d laughed with them the entire time I lived there.
I was working for an Asian food marketing agency and someone said, “have you had Boulud recently?” Which a colleague misinterpreted as “balut” and it was about 100 seconds of misunderstanding as one was trying to imply Daniel Boulud was getting better at his craft while the other thought perinatal bird eggs were too weird to enjoy. I still laugh at the idea of a Daniel Balut restaurant.
I brought my then one year old child to a gallery opening at my work, and had to ask our Director of Operations to hold him while I entertained visitors, when one started talking to him while he was holding my child. Knowing I was the director, and the child mine, the visitor said something like “are you the child’s father?” and he said yes, which I think is maybe the funniest thing that’s ever happened at work. We still tell people he is the father of my child because it is hilarious.