Woody Allen (YGtCTO Words #90)

Getting Even
Book written by Woody Allen

Depending on what happens between my writing of this and when it goes live, I may regret this post. Of course, you could argue that, in this moment six weeks in the past, I should never have sat down and proceeded to write this. I don’t feel quite like I’m writing about Bill Cosby, but you might. For that matter, I want to include Cosby here, but I just could not make my fingers do the typing.

And Woody Allen is a more difficult case. I’d like to say that it’s because he has not been convicted of anything in a criminal court, but the reality is that he is more difficult because he continues to work. That’s it. That’s all there ever is. Either you’re contributing or you’re not. Maybe you should be punished for things that you have done, but that never prohibits you from trying to contribute, working to make amends. That probably requires a willing heart and an acknowledgement of pain caused.

And don’t buy the book. My copy was purchased decades ago used. That may not make for clean hands, but it’s close enough.

In retrospect, sadly, I learned an awful lot about humor from Cosby and Allen. I memorized To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With, learning about comic timing and building a joke. Cosby taught a master class in how to build a story with humor. And he made me laugh and think of him as someone who understood me.

Woody Allen

From Woody Allen, I discovered that personality might matter more than appearance. That seemed like a good message at the time, especially to someone who felt lost in adolescent self-loathing. And I learned how to write a joke so that it could sit on a page and await finding by an unknown reader. In many ways, that still feels like one of the great miracles of art. You can actually create something that can can communicate with someone far away in a distant time. Intentional humor is perhaps the most transparent art form, but, when it works, we may be speaking with the dead.

So, I spent years feeling kinship with Cosby and Allen. Part of their presentation was meant to create that bond, as they connected over what makes us the same. That’s what makes all of this not be an emperor-has-no-clothes scenario. This was never about looking at them from the audience.

Now, I realize that there are aspects of both these men that I will never comprehend. I wish that made me feel superior. All it does is make me sad because our paths looked to be so close and it turns out that they were so far apart. Somehow, I missed that underlying message in their art.

What’s it all about?

You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 31 more to go.

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