Let’s be honest here. I think we’re all in the market for a little fun on this Friday. We’ve been cooped up in our homes for a while now, and for many folks that’s the best case scenario. The world doesn’t look anything like it did just two months ago. So, I went on the lookout for something that I thought might be the cheeriest thing possible.
Puppies and kittens, hold my beer
All right, I’m as big of a fan of puppies and kittens as anyone else. I think they’re great mood raisers. And if that’s what it takes to raise your mood, go for it. You’ll find whole channels of them on Pluto TV and tons of content on YouTube. But I felt like (just like all of you) I needed some intense therapy — a jolt of happy straight to the brain. And there’s no question I knew it when I saw it.
It is impossible to be sad with banjo music playing.
In fact, not only is that statement true, I’ve found the source of it. Back in the 1970s before Steve Martin was a largely translucent white guy known mostly for overly intellectual humor, he was a comedy writer and budding standup. His appearances on Saturday Night Live catapulted him to stardom and his irreverent and (seemingly) self-centered comedy was just the thing for a nation still reeling from Vietnam and the first recession in a generation.
Mr. Martin’s comedy, combined with his excellent banjo playing, may cement this clip as the most fun one ever. You decide.
The 1970s were a more monolithic time for pop culture. With three broadcast networks and no internet, our nation’s tastes were shaped by a much smaller group of people. And key among those tastemakers was Johnny Carson.
“Sis… boom… baaaa.”
Mr. Carson’s own comedy was safe, simple, and fun. It was full of puns and silly situations. He was the everyman, the filter who turned the confusing news of the day into something that people could feel good about as they drifted off to sleep. In those days there was really only one late-night talk show host who did that format, unlike the dozen or so we see today. He didn’t invent the format, and he wasn’t even the first host of the Tonight show. But even today, many people think of him fondly as a pop-culture gatekeeper, surrogate dad or best friend. His own personal life may have been more complex, but his public persona made you think he’d be at home at your local VFW or bowling alley. That’s just what we all needed back then.
Enjoy. I know you need it.
The moment we live in today is incredibly far from the 1970s. Even the disaster films of the day don’t live up to what we’ve been living with for the last month or so. But we’ll get out of this, and when we do we’ll get back to the hard work in life. For now, enjoy every bit of fun you can find.