Friday, September 14, 2007

Smile, You're On Philosophers' Playground

Brothers, Sisters, and Transgendered Comedists everywhere,

This weekend would be the 93rd birthday of Allen Funt, the genius behind Candid Camera. The forefather of reality television, Candid Camera was different from today's version. Contemporary reality tv sets up situations designed to bring out the worst in people, Allen Funt brought out the human side in his victims. What was so funny about it was the timing. Something just unusual enough to be shocking happens -- not so bizarre that you suspect a set-up, but strange enough that you are knocked off stride -- then you are given enough time to worry that someone saw what just happened and begin to try to figure out "what now?", but not so much time that you could really work something out. It was brilliant in exposing us to ourselves without the mask we have become so adept at presenting.

We all run into those situations where the usual response is two of them is "oh" and the other one isn't. Your heart stops, your stomach sinks, your mind races, the blood in the back of your neck makes you uncomfortably hot. Alfred Adler said, "to be human is to be insecure," Allen Funt was a master at showing us our humanity.

And, man, was it funny.Have you had any Candid Camera moments? Times when you were caught in an unusual situation in a compromised position?

After my first Dead show, I had a car full of friends (including YKW) and as we waited in the long line of cars slowly working out of the parking lot I notice that my headlights are dimmer than normal. Worried that something might be wrong with my battery or my alternator, I get out and check. But everything seems in order. Afraid that we'll be stuck on the side of the road with a car that won't start late at night before the days of the cell phone, I fret. Then it hits me. It's not the car's lights that are dim, it's mine. You see, I'm still wearing my prescription sunglasses. Embarrassed, I slowly slip them off hoping to put them in the console between the front seats and put on my regular specs when You Know Who busts me.

Anyone else ever been caught? If so, smile, you're on the Philosophers' Playground.

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve