What Makes a Funny Guy Funny?
By Rick Bundschuh • Kauai Christian Fellowship • Poipu, Hawaii
Tim was almost invisible as he loitered around my living room. His kids, his wife, brother, and other family members were mostly talkative and boisterous as we gathered for a big Hawaiian-style BBQ.
I found his reserved actions interesting.
Most of my humorous friends could never turn off the clowning – heck they would even try to crack a joke after a funeral just because they used laughter to deal with most every situation, even the awkward ones. But Tim, while warm, was pulled in and not particularly witty. Certainly, in person, he is not the elastic wisecracking maniac one sees on stage.
As you can tell, I was studying him. It is what we writer-types do. Little did I know that Tim was studying us, too.
He noticed my wife’s innate shyness. He noticed the omnipresent chickens that ran across our lawn (a plague to our island home that occurred when a hurricane ripped up chicken coops and blew their former inhabitants all over creation.) He studied patterns of speech and the little idiosyncrasies that most others miss. His mind was collecting, categorizing, and twisting everything that he was quietly gathering.
And few days later he used every single one of those quirks, mixing sidesplitting parodies of local people and observations into the standard shtick of his comedy routine. And finally, at the end of his performance, hot and dripping with sweat from hilarious acrobatics, he brought down the house by lifting my shy, diminutive, and horrified wife three feet off the ground in a giant bear hug as she tried to put a lei on him.
Heh, heh, heh! That stinker!
Tim Hawkins has exploded on the comedy scene with dizzying success. From humble beginnings in St. Louis, he has commandeered a network of relatives to help manage what seems to be an insatiable demand for the antics of this former warehouse worker. What is it about the Hawkins style of humor that grabs at the funny bone of kids as well as adults?
Well, it’s complicated. Adults, and particularly Christians who are okay with laughing at our own peculiarities, love his wit and sly satire. Kids love his goofy rewriting of rock songs, his rubbery face making, the occasional scatological reference, and (of course) his famous silly stage prancing.
“I don’t connect all that well with college-age students,” Tim told me, “A lot of my stuff is about life that they haven’t experienced yet.”
Many college students in tears of laughter would beg to differ.
In the end, Tim is hilarious because he touches the experience of the average Walmart shopping, used-car driving, church going, iPod toting believer – young or old.