Monday, February 17, 2014

laugh at yourself.



I’m an unabashed comedy freak. I love improvisation, parodies, spoofs, impersonations, stand-up, SNL, and Mad TV skits. I mean, I love to laugh. But, then again, who doesn’t?

Not to make a habit of commenting on viral videos this semester, but this is one I surprisingly enjoyed. Singer and impersonator Christina Bianco does a cover of Frozen’s “Let it Go” – in the style of Idina Menzel, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Kristin Chenoweth, Adele, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and Liza Minnelli. What an incredible three minutes and fifty-five seconds.

I think we laugh at good impersonations because they expose people’s idiosyncrasies in speech, gestures, body language, visages, and behaviors. Bianco’s exposé brilliantly lampoons each female singer’s vocal techniques and performance habits. All the same, it’s parodies like this that make performers all the more self-conscious when they perform, because they’re forever wondering what their idiosyncrasies are and who’s picking up on them.

But I’m not discouraging this. Why should performers be self-conscious when they perform? This parody, as hilarious as it is, teaches us to laugh not at other people, but at ourselves. Bianco imitates a handful of profoundly talented and noteworthy singers; her skit doesn’t devalue their talent in any way. What her impersonations tell me is this:

When it comes to comedy, everyone is a victim.

If we don’t learn to laugh at ourselves, we’ll never survive in any profession. To be human is to be flawed; but those flaws shouldn’t always warrant shame. That’s what I love about parodies like these and the ones we see on Mad TV and SNL. These comedians and performers don’t tiptoe around people’s feelings or skirt legal action by vomiting politically correct euphemisms into audience’s laps. They make it a point to brazenly victimize everyone, because no one is perfect. And we need to embrace our imperfections. And—not to belabor my point from two weeks ago—we need to realize that celebrities are humans, too, and do not fit into the mold of perfection from which we think they were spawned.

Look in the mirror. Laugh at yourself. Life will be infinitely easier once you do.

          -Alex Hajjar

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