I'll Be Your Friend Dave Barry!!  

Posted by Heidi in

Once upon a time Dunhaven Place was a humor blog (don’t ask me what’s funny about the phrase “Dunhaven Place” b/c I got nothing) but most of you know that already. Or, perhaps, I just assume you know that when all this time (you know, back when it was supposed to be funny) it wasn’t funny at all and the phrases “humor blog” and "my blog" went together only in my mind, er, dreams. (Or, quite possibly, wildest dreams.)

Yet, I know it was a humor blog because it offended people. When I started my blog, little did I realize that all humor involves the potential of offending someone. I merely wanted to showcase my “wit” in light of my novel that is full of, er, humor and wit (and where the only ones offended were imaginary people who couldn't possibly get mad at me). Yet, people (real ones!) felt offended by my words. Even when 99.99% of the time, the person being skewered was myself. Even when there was nothing I wrote when I was (trying to be) funny that was intended to offend or that I even realized might offend anyone other than me, myself and I.

That was quite the revelation to me and is one reason why I haven’t been writing with my tongue so firmly planted in my cheek as of late.

My question is this: Do comedians have any friends? Can Jerry Seinfeld manage to scrape up guests for dinner anymore? Did he have to hire actors to play his real-life friends for "Seinfeld" because the originals were bent out of shape and wouldn’t “read” well on the screen? (Larry David, is that why it took ten years to do the reunion show?) (As if Larry reads my blog.) (He used to but he got offended when I did a post on balding men who wear glasses.) Jerry did finally get married, presumably to someone he hadn’t know for a terribly long time. (Perhaps he decided he needed to populate the earth with one or two newbie humans who hadn’t heard any of his jokes.)

And then there’s Dave Barry. How I love you, Dave Barry! You can write all you want about anything and I’ll just laugh. Because, you know, I understand that it isn’t personal. It’s all just a joke! Sure, I’m brunette, which means roughly half of the jokes told in America simply don’t pertain to me but those who know me will tell you I’m really a blonde underneath all that brown and that I was called “airhead” by the guys in high school 100 times more often than I was called for a date (not that I'm calling blondes airheads . . . at least not any of the ones I know . . . or who are reading this . . . just saying . . . ). Besides, you mostly make fun of yourself which is refreshing. Still, I have to wonder if your in-laws think twice before coming to stay at your house and if your pals from high school conveniently ignore your requests to friend them on Facebook.

And what about Joel Stein, who, “On December 19, 2008,{wrote} a Los Angeles Times "tongue-in-cheek" column titled "How Jewish is Hollywood?" Stein expressed "mock outrage" at a recent Anti-Defamation League (ADL) poll showing that only 22% of Americans believe "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," which was down from nearly 50% in 1964”. (Thanks Wikipedia!) I have to admit, when I read the stated column, I fretted a bit about his social life even as I admired his wit and skill with turning a phrase. What would his Jewish friends think of his take on his Jewish world? Would they egg his house? Leave flaming poop on the doorstep? Nah! They understand. After all, the man is a humor columnist (a Jewish one). It’s how he earns his daily bread. The fact that he was actually making fun of himself should have lessened the blow. Right?

Apparently not. Apparently there were some who felt offended. Apparently his best friends cancelled their child’s playdate with the Stein baby. Apparently his parents phoned and demanded to know what he meant by those remarks. Apparently his wife refused to cook dinner or even bring home take out and he has been eating tuna out of a can he found in a 1950’s bomb shelter in the backyard ever since. (JK, Joel Stein. But you knew that.) (AND you thought it was funny and you laughed because you understand.)

The truth is, I used to be a bit sarcastic starting from a very young age. After all, everyone else was doing it and I thought I was being clever and cute. But then I realized I wasn’t (clever or cute or at least seen as such) and I stopped (yes, I did, even if you those of you who were there didn't notice). Years later, I thought it would be o.k. to be a bit sarcastic in my blog because everyone else was doing it and I thought it was clever and cute. And that people would understand. And that they would have a sense of humor.

Apparently not. (Joel, I’ll meet you out back with fork in hand. You bring the tuna

P.S. Proof that some people do have a sense of humor (where-in a British person linked to my (witty) post about British people). (Okay, so I can't find the link or even the blog of said person but you can read the post (click on "proof") and just know that some Brit linked to it. Honest.)

P.S.S. Photo by the Middle Child who has no idea I lifted her picture and am using it in this post. However, I did want to credit her since I would hate to offend anyone. Especially someone I live with and who has full access to my underwear drawer and, regrettably, my Facebook profile.

P.S.S.S. See my most recent post at Mormon Women: Who We Are HERE

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at Thursday, March 18, 2010 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

28 wise, witty and wonderful comments

I think you are funny--this post especially. What's more, I have never been offended by you!

March 18, 2010 at 9:25 AM

I find this so interesting. I have never received an angry email. Ever. And I can't even remember the last time I received a negative comment.

Maybe I need to offend more! :)

But I know I'm not everyone's cup of tea, and that's OK. Whenever I have blogged about someone in my life, I always tell them first, and let them read the post before I publish it.

And I don't think that you can necessarily blame humor as the problem. I see people get offended by everything and anything. I think that you do need to find a balance. I am still very sarcastic, but I used to be even more so, to the point where it was too much and could be hurtful. I've learned to reign it in a lot more.

I do think that there are some people who manage to get offended by anything. I guess I just don't always see funny = hurtful.

And honestly, if people can't laugh at themselves or their culture, then I find that sad and depressing. I think people could use a lot more laughter.

March 18, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Rebecca--thanks! Kristina--you're preaching to the choir. Er, not that I'm calling you preachy. Just that I agree with you--lighten up, people!

March 18, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Hey, I can be pretty funny in person, but don't expect it in my writing. I am just not clever enough. Plus, I like having friends. It makes me happy.

March 18, 2010 at 10:17 AM

It's that whole apostate thing--they can leave you, but they can't leave you alone. But don't let the few spoil it for the many. Most of us love your humor, Heidi.

March 18, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Kazzy--you bring up a good point. In person, it is harder to take offense. Flat words on a screen seem more forceful and hard. It makes it easier for people to take offense. Pam--thanks, but you all live so far away. Bummer.

March 18, 2010 at 10:23 AM

I'm so sorry that people took offense..I mean, really, what is there problem? I try to use sarcasm from time to time, so far I don't think I have offended anyone....YET

March 18, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Wow. That picture kinda freaked me out a bit!

But I'm not offended. :)

Heidi, I've never once been the slightest offended by you. I adore you and love you!

(Got the email, btw. James wants to know what we can do to get an extra special inscription, haha. :D I'll write back probably tonight!)

March 18, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Rebecca--I have been pondering the extra special inscription already. : )

March 18, 2010 at 11:55 AM

I've never had anyone complain to me and I GUESS some of my posts COULD be construed as snarky. I guess. Maybe.

Okay, they are.

What befuddles me is someone who would stop and take the time to 1) be offended and 2) tell you about it.

I'm sad for them that they don't have anything better to do.

March 18, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Oh Heidi,
I think you are funny. I also love Joel Stein and Dave Barry AND Jerry Seinfeld, oh and Jon Stewart.

It's true that sometimes humor is harder to translate in writing than in person, something I worry about quite often having a horribly sarcastic sense of humor myself. I think I do have a harder time making friends, people don't always know how to take me. Even making fun of yourself makes some people uncomfortable, perhaps because they see themselves in the jokes. On the other hand, the friends I do have are pretty funny people.

I've considered giving up sarcasm, or at least cutting back, and I do try to tone it down with some people (unfortunatly those are usually the ones who really spark my forked tongue)but it's hard. I feel naked without my shield of wit.

March 18, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Well, I think you're funny! And you can insult me all you want. Maybe. A little.

Or no...

By the way, you're not making fun of people who eat tuna, are you? Because that would be really offensive.

P.S. Is is bad that I wish my in-laws thought twice before coming to stay at my house? Or thrice? Or just decided to stay home?

March 18, 2010 at 1:33 PM

I'm coming at this from a slightly different direction, Heidi,but I've arrived at the same truck stop on the road of life--where I'm kind of over people being offended.

I was a bishop for a few years and used to worry about offending people. And then I realized it was always the same people and they were always offended. Neh. Now I really don't care.

Keep that razor sharp wit honed and that tongue in your cheek (just be careful not to cut yourself)

March 18, 2010 at 1:34 PM

I believe people are offended by me because I am not funny enough. But no one has emailed me on the issue (so I guess I'm okay).

Heidi, I don't think I could be offended by you. You are such a great woman and so funny! =)

March 18, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Sheeeesh, whats up with people. I like sarcastic...and witty.
laugh more
critize less

March 18, 2010 at 6:32 PM

If it makes you feel better, you have never once come even close to offending me.

Neither has Dave Barry, for that matter! :)

March 18, 2010 at 8:52 PM

This is a whole world that I kind of don't really get. I know I am very sarcastic in real life (because people tell me) but I don't have any idea what or how much comes out when I write on my blog. I just don't understand getting offended unless someone is obviously making a jab at someone's weakness and you can tell it's mean spirited. I almost never see that, though.

The only opposition I've ever had to my sense of humor is when I'm talking to someone and say something silly or sarcastic and they start explaining the issue to me as if I must misunderstand something, or they've taken me completely seriously.

Anyway, I think humor is the best thing ever (practically) and hate that for some people it ends up being a negative thing. Sheesh.

March 19, 2010 at 2:16 AM

Ha ha Miss Heidi, I lub this post. And I hear you.

First of all, I can't imagine you ever offending anyone and getting a nasty comment or email. I also can't imagine Kristina P. not getting a nasty comment or email. She is stinkin' heelarious and goes for the jugular. But I'm impressed that she lets people know and read her posts before she publishes them. Good on her.

Just be yourself. Who cares. Say what you need to say, tastefully.


March 19, 2010 at 8:25 AM

Really? You? Offensive?

Hmm. Haven't seen it. I've only seen your adorable, loveable, hilarious self.

And how goes Ms. D 2?

March 19, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Sometimes, I say things just because they're funny.

Sometimes it gets me in trouble.

But usually, because things tumble out of me before I've had chance to think, I laugh and apologise and the world forgives me.

Some comedians I would love to spend time with. Others, it seems like a terrifying prospect. Depends on the humour, and the personality that comes through.

March 20, 2010 at 2:00 PM

I will be Dave Barry's friend AND Joel Stein's. I really like Joel Stein. He was the reason I subscribed to TIME magazine for a while. Solely for his humor and wit.

And, of course, I'll be your friend, too.

I just don't understand these people who must take offense at everything. Must be hard, having no sense of humor.

March 20, 2010 at 8:33 PM

I have to weigh in on the never been offended by you side. And I think you are funny. But I also know what it is like to offend people without trying. I just had a lady go two weeks without talking to me--and being blatantly rude when I tried to talk to her--because of something someone else said that she thought I might be behind, that I actually knew nothing about. Does that make sense? My point being that some poeple just like to take offense, and will do so no matter what--so you really can't concern yourself with that. (Hopefully that wasn't offensive:-)

March 21, 2010 at 7:18 PM

If you don't offend someone you are "wishy washy", "fickle" or the worst of all bloggy insults "not being authentic" .... and then nobody reads your stuff. Those who get the most from your writing are there because they "get" you. So let's get back out there and start offending some people!

March 23, 2010 at 8:22 AM

You're such a hoot.

Personally, I think there's no point in being offended unless the person MEANT to offend you.

And the fact that my WIP is a comedy suddenly has me nervous...

March 23, 2010 at 12:53 PM

I have loved you from day one. People choose to take offense. We can't stop them. It is their flaw not ours. We must not stop being ourselves because we feel we might offend someone. It is their choice.

March 23, 2010 at 2:12 PM

I used to be really sarcastic (learned it in order to survive in my highly sarcastic family). It's probably why I love Dave Barry and Jerry Seinfeld. I guess I've mellowed with age... that and I've realized there's so much of my life that's just plain funny and I don't have to add sarcasm. Funny thing is, the only people I've ever received emails from for something I've written on my blog are family members. Go figure!

March 25, 2010 at 12:28 AM

Very interesting post. It kind of seems like blogs are a place where we try to figure out who we are and who we want to be portrayed as (not grammatically correct, but I don't care). I really don't get why people get offended. But I think you should just be yourself and not care about the haters.

March 25, 2010 at 2:03 PM

You pose a great question: do comedians have any friends.

I love Dave Barry & the funny people so much, those who are willing to poke fun at themselves even, to draw out a smile, a laugh, a nod.

I used to blog in a tad bit more humorous vein, and offended a few people as well. (Methinks they had thin skin to begin with but that's another tale for another day.) In the end, I removed all related posts that offended and haven't come back around to tackle the hot topic again.

I think that people can become offended at the smallest thing, as was related in a story in General Conference today (the to-be Elder who received his mission call with his name spelled incorrectly).

Ahhh, such is life. To live and try not to offend, while trying to live fully, all the while.

April 4, 2010 at 7:34 PM

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