Not long ago, I was talking with one of my oldest friends, Blaise Kearsley about a storytelling series she founded and hosts regularly in NYC called “How I Learned” (HowILearnedSeries.com). After nearly five years she has produced dozens of shows celebrating all the important human dilemmas, traumas, incidents, etc. that precede and aid an “education”. For example, some of the series’ events have been titled “How I Learned My Adolecence Was Over" or "How I Learned To Inhale: Stories About Drugs" or, one of my favorites, "How I Learned I Was Right All Along".
While the objective may be for storytellers to thoughtfully and intelligently articulate a wide range of human experience that gives rise to a personal epiphany (or sometimes just a rude wake-up call) the result is almost invariably hilarious. This probably has something to do with the fact that the most enlightening moments in life are often a direct result of our own arrogance, anger, lust, (insert deadly sin of choice here) which, as we all know, inevitably leads to humiliation. And really, is there anything funnier than humiliation? No, there is not... especially when said humiliation is not our own. (But really even when it is.)
All of which leads us to the project below. I asked Blaise if she had ever, in all these years, produced a show called “How I Learned To Be Funny”? I was surprised by her reply.
Well you certainly should, I said.
I said, why don’t you go try to be funny and then write about it? Better yet, why don’t you go tell people funny jokes in the park and I'll photograph it?
Which is exactly what we did one cloudy but warm afternoon this fall.
Here is JOKES IN THE PARK. Some of the jokes are undeniably funny. Some might not be to your taste. Others, you might find quite distasteful… offensive even. We apologize ahead of time and absolve ourselves of any wrongdoing with the knowledge that sometimes, in life, it really is just a joke...
Ft. Greene Park, Brooklyn