Dr. Richard Cirulli delves further into his growing body of work regarding societal evolution, known as the “Boomerang Series,” with his most recent article: “Lyrics Lampooning Laughter By Dr. Richard Cirulli, Ph.D. this Friday, March 15, 2019 at 10:30am DST on the Westchester On the Level Internet radio broadcast. Listen “Live” or “On Demand”. Use the following hyperlink … http://tobtr.com/s/11229817
Lyrics Lampooning Laughter
“Laugh, Laugh, I thought I’d Die
It seemed so funny to me
Laugh, Laugh you met a guy who taught how it feels to be
Lonely, or so lonely”
~ Beau Brummels
The Beau Brummels were a San Francisco band who had a hit in 1964 with their hit single “Laugh, Laugh. The band did fall short of the super group status, and over the years this very talented band fell unjustly under the moniker of “a one hit wonder” like so many bands of the sixties. The song was produced by Sylvester Stewart, later know as Sly Stone. Despite the misguided moniker popular music history has placed on this band, the band did receive critical acclaim for its catalog of work which included the albums Triangle in 1967 and Bradley Barn in 1968. For the music aficionado, the Beau Brummels are rightly credited for setting the aesthetic foundation for the San Francisco sound with its blending of beat music with folk music. They were also the first American band to achieve widespread success in response to the British invasion.
The lyrics of the song deals with a jilted lover who receives his comeuppance when his former lover gets dumped by her new paramour; hence- laugh, laugh I thought I’d die. In the parlance of popular culture this is a real good karma story. Viewed from the definition of those of us who take our humor seriously, this type of laughter in the face of one’s suffering is referred to as “Superiority Humor.” This theory heartens as far back as Plato, who believed what made a person laughable is human evil, folly, and self-ignorance. Believing the laughable person is someone who thinks of himself as wealthier, better looking, more virtuous, or wiser then he really is. Plato went on to state that the superior human is basically the malice in origin. As the Beau Brummel’s hit faded out of our conscious, a new form of humor began to take hold in the post sixties. It was in response to the self-glory or feeling of triumph of the superiority theory; thus began the incongruity theory of amusement which started to take hold. The incongruity theory is an intellectual reaction to something that is unexpected, illogical, or inappropriate in some way, that eliminates the zero-sum, that is, I win-you lose- mentality of superiority humor.
Immanuel Kant, a central figure in modern philosophy summed up incongruity best with his telling / explaining of the following:
The heir of a rich relative wished to arrange for an imposing funeral, but he lamented that he could not properly succeed: “for” (said he) “the more money I gave my mourners to look sad, the more cheerful they look” botta boom! Hence incongruity humor.
The Beau Brummels were quickly labled as the American Zoombies, since their style and their hit song was a response to the British band, The Zoombies hit, She’s Not There.
“Well, nobody told me about her
The way she lied
Well, nobody told me about her
Though they all knew”
Both songs tell a moral story of sorts, one most of us have experienced in life, and the Beau Brummel’s song that has a tint of superiority humor interlaced with some karma, a euphemism of cause and effect. While it also stresses the importance of laughter as medicine when dealing with life’s annoyances.
In closing, what can one say? And what advice can be given? He who laughs last … laughs best regardless of one’s laugh theory.
Laugh, Laugh, no need to cry
Laugh, Laugh, no need to die
Laugh, laugh no need to lie
Laugh, Laugh Just smile and sigh
And, say good bye
Kick up your heels
Now that you found blue skies
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Dr. Richard Cirulli is a retired Professor, columnist, playwright, author, songwriter, and author of “The Songs of Roland”. You can view his website at DemitassePlayers.com .He looks forward to your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org