Watch a sitcom or a comedy film weekly.
Q: What kind of person doesn’t like Monty Python? A: A wife.
I watched Life of Brian today with my wife. Half of it, at least. And afterwards we watched The cheese shop sketch, The Argument sketch and my favourite one of my favourite songs at the moment, Every sperm is sacred:
We were not amused. You see, my wife’s a historian, and she always wants to put things into a historical context. During the Romans go home scene, one of my favourite scenes ever, she wanted to know where it was filmed, why it was filmed there, what kind of government that country had at the time, how the locals viewed the film, and if they were paid enough. She found the big nose scene unimpressive, and the wolf nipples scene was OK, but obvious: of course terrorist groups fight among themselves.
The first thing she asked afterwards? How did they (Monty Python) get money to make this film, were they famous before they made it? Her second question: why does everything has to be so dirty and run-down?
My wife does have a sense of humour. She laughs a lot. We laugh a lot together. But this Monty Python thing seemed to be quite foreign to her. It became almost awkward after a while: it was as if we didn’t even see the same film.
Perhaps because men and women differ in their sense of humour. Men like to laugh to feel superior; women to feel connected to others. Men like absurdities; women like stories. Men like Monty Python; women like Sex and the City. (Apparently, Sex and the City is funny, presumably haha-funny. I don’t get it either.)
But my wife likes absurdities. She laughs when I improvise an absurd song or makes up an absurd story for the kids. And she has never been a big fan of Sex and the City. And as for me, although I am very far from even tolerating Sex and the City, I do like stories and I do find some stories funny. The theory doesn’t hold water.
I wanted to ask her. Why don’t you like Monty Python, I wanted to ask, why don’t you laugh out loud when you see the dead parrot sketch? What’s wrong with you? But I didn’t. It’s like asking someone why they like terrible music, or why they didn’t choose better parents. Besides, I have done something similar before, and it didn’t end well. Never ask your wife why she doesn’t understand, ask her why she thinks that you don’t understand.
I fast-forward to the last scene. Brian is on the cross, a guy behind him (Eric Idle) says “Cheer up, Brian!”, and the rest is three minutes of movie bliss. Even I get the goose bumps, even after having seen it many times. And I don’t even like to watch movies.
I turn off the computer. The awkward silence again. My wife is still unimpressed. I must ask her.
You laugh all the time, I say, you have a great sense of humour. How come you don’t like Monty Python at all? How can you not like Monty Python! It’s Monty Python!
I’m used to better stuff, she says. I’m used to you.
And then she kisses me on the forehead and goes up the stairs, the baby’s awake.
Ah. I see. It all makes sense now.
I turn on the computer again. I have more Monty Python scenes to go through before I get too tired and cross-eyed.