What Makes You Laugh? Remembering DENNIS WOLFBERG

Have you ever thought about what it is that tickles your funny bone? I think about it quite often. The reason I think about it is that for me, it is a lot easier to make me cry than it is too make me laugh. Would that it weren't so, but it is. I am empathetic, to a fault, and overly sensitive to my own and other's woes and hardships. But it is not about crying that I wish to speak. It is about laughing. What and who make me laugh?

Does anyone remember the comedian, Dennis Wolfberg? This man could make me laugh so hard, I'd cry (Damn, there's that word again). I saw Wolfberg for the first time at a comedy club, I think in Bergen County, NJ. He was a story teller, generally, "slice of life" stories. He would emphasize a word by pausing ever so slightly before it began and then overly emphasizing either a syllable or the entire word, as his eyes bulged out of his head and his voice blew out from his chest like a fog-horn. The entire effect was hilarious and his observations were so on target that it was all I could do, not to pee in my pants from laughing so hard. I saw him once more at Rascals Comedy Club, which at that time was in West Orange, NJ. My friend, Lynne and I were hysterical, especially when he expounded on his wife's birthing experience. I swear, every person in that audience, well at least every woman, was, along with him, in third stage labor, pushing like hell and laughing mercilessly . It rated as one of the top entertainment experiences of my life.

It must have been in the early 1990's when I saw Dennis Wolfberg for the first and second time, which turned out to be the last time . Dennis Wolfberg died on October 4, 1994 at the age of 48. His obituary said that he was in the middle of making a deal for his own TV show. Talk about Tragic Comedy.

Seinfeld makes me laugh, not like Wolfberg did, but the humor on the Seinfeld Show did and does appeal to my sense of what's funny. David Sedaris makes me laugh. I found him especially funny many years ago when he used to perform his life essays on NPR. Working as a "French Maid" in NYC apartments is just one that comes to mind. His book, Me Talk Pretty Some Day, was the funniest piece of work ever to be put down in words on paper. I remember that my father could not hear the word fart said in a joke, or any other context for that matter, without cracking up. To this day, my sister, brother and I can not hear the word fart used in a joke or story, without giggling, in respect for our father, of course. David Sedaris has a piece in his book about turds and how one time at a friend's house, at a party, he went to use the john and to his disbelief there floating, well not floating, but engorged within the confines of the bowl was a turd so big and so long and so rotund that he was sure there was no way it would flush and it didn't. Reading back these words now pretty much gags me, but back then when I was sitting on a beach chair in my backyard on a hot summer afternoon, I thought they were about the funniest words I'd ever read and I howled with laughter. Me, who is not given to easy laughter.

So, tell me what tickles your funny bone. What makes you really, really laugh.


Anonymous said...


BRIDE "- ( the newer version
with Diane Keaton and Steve

Anonymous said...

Dennis Wolfberg, just as you say. Remember the bit about being in a hotel room, and hearing people in the next room?

Rob F. said...

Sherril, have you heard his rant about his visit to a proctologist? I was driving when I heard it. I had to pull over; I was laughing so hard. It grieved me that we lost him so young.


Sherril said...

Rob, yes I remember it well. What a loss.

anyjazz said...

You have excellent taste in humor. Thanks.