I thought it would be fun to get some insight into the heads of some of my favorite funny people. When operating on their brains was ruled out as a viable option (what can i say? tough economy.), I decided to subject them to a series of questions about humor, faith, and swordfights. The result is The Ramblings and Such Humor Survey.
I first heard about Tyler Stanton when Mastermind Ben Arment said he was funny. “Pshaw”, I thought. “I never gave Tyler Stanton permission to be funny.”
Turns out Ben was right. Tyler (and his cohort Tripp Crosby) were and are hilarious. Their videos at Catalyst West in February killed it, including the amazing iBible spoof that was so funny it made Joel Osteen not smile. I’ve since contacted Tyler and given him the necessary permissions and paperwork he needed, and what do you know? Turns out he’s a great guy too. You probably want to get to know him because I have a feeling his handiwork will be making you laugh in some form or fashion for the next 46 years.
1. What were a few of the things you remember laughing at the most as a kid?
TS: I took in a steady dose of the simpsons (i had a bart simpson bedspread), in living color, martin, TGIF, and jeff foxworthy. Somehow I was allowed to watch those shows, but not allowed to watch Blossom (seriously). Sadly, I laughed a lot at myself. My parents let me use their video camera all the time and my neighbors and i made commercials and TV shows constantly, which are now locked away in an underground vault.
2. What about now as an adult?
TS: 30 rock, it’s always sunny in philadelphia (do you think less of me now?), the office, arrested development, clarkandmichael.com, bryanallain.com/blog, jim gaffigan, steven colbert, jeff foxworthy, family guy, demitri martin, snl, and just everyday absurdities that I end up writing about on my blog. i also like reading books by david sedaris and simon rich.
3. Conversely, is there something that lots of other people find humorous that never really makes you laugh?
TS: Anything with the wayans brothers, royal tennenbaums, sexual humor. Also death.
4. Do you think Christians are afraid of humor?
TS: Some. i think some christians think they need to be super serious all the time and/or only laugh at jokes about baptism or the Fellowship Hall. i don’t really know why. why should i feel guilty about laughing at someone who accidentally farts in a waiting room? every human should laugh at that. no one should view that as inappropriate.
5. How do you think humor can be useful to Christianity?
TS: Breaking down walls. providing levity. helping people not take themselves so seriously. there are a lot of people going through some serious stuff. i view creating laughter as a ministry in itself.
6. In your opinion, how is humor different from sarcasm/cynicism?
TS: I don’t think that they’re mutually exclusive. a lot of humor involves a good dose of sarcasm and cynicism. acuff gave me some good advice once though. he said to make sure you’re not making fun of someone personally (I was constantly making fun of Bryan Allain when this came up), but make fun of situations or experiences or, better yet, yourself. I try to target myself in a lot of the stuff that I make fun of.
7. At what point in life did you really start to embrace the idea: “wow, i think I might be funny.”?
TS: i’ve always thought that… i just happened to be the only one thinking it for the majority of my life (especially during those regrettable steve urkel years). i think other people started to see that in me a few years ago when i started doing young life. of course, that fueled my enormous ego and led me down a path of trying to be funnier and funnier. these days, i’m pretty unbearable to be around.”
8. Why do you want to be funny?
TS: it gives me life. i love laughter, and i love to be the one to create laughter. but, i also like laughing at/with other people. there’s just something really refreshing about not taking everything so seriously all the time.
9. Have you ever tried to do stand-up?
TS: I have a young life character named craig phelger who is an amateur stand-up comedian. He comes out and stands in front of a faux brick wall. he is terrible, but the humor is in how terrible he is. last spring, i actually performed it in front of jeff foxworthy. his nose started bleeding midway through the routine. I’m not entirely sure how to interpret that.
10. Do you have a favorite quote (or joke or story) about comedy, humor, and making people laugh?
TS: i think bill cosby said something about how cussing is lazy. or maybe it was seinfeld. either way, the point was not judging cussing, but that it was just a much easier way to make people laugh. it’s harder (and more rewarding) to make people laugh just as hard without being lazy.
Thanks for playing along, Tyler!