Thanking A Wiz

by JAMES DRAPER
edited by ANDREW HICKS

Leonardo da Vinci: Terrific at art, not so terrific at personal grooming.

Comedy is the world’s last true form of wizardry. There are no smoke or mirrors to make you think something has changed or happened. There’s simply a wave of the hand, or magic words said and poof, you’ve become something else. Your physical being has changed in an instant. You begin breathing hard and fast. You start exclaiming out loud with laughter. You feel a connection, and something has magically tickled your brain, stomach, and heart. Out of thin air, you are now happy or, in some cases, pissed off. You might be terribly offended, or you may feel a little awkward or left out. Something is now there that, moments ago, wasn’t.

Comedy also makes many things disappear, such as sadness or contentment. In most cases, it can obliterate boredom. These “spells” can last for days or weeks. Even years later, you will remember something so damn funny or offensive that you’ll repeat it to others, making the magic spread even further than the room it was delivered in. Your thoughts and emotions have been twisted by the magical arrangement of words and movement. The hypnotic rhythm of the delivery and its poignancy grasped you, and you’re changed in some way, whether you wanted it to happen or not.

Comedians are the wizards making these magical moments happen. They are the givers of change and the reactors of circumstance. They are the ones saying the things you wanted to say but couldn’t. They are doing the things you thought might not be possible. Comedians fully form ideas that only flashed inside you. They have the ability to catch and hold onto those small glimpses of wonderment and curiosity. They actually bend reality and make you see, even for a moment, what may be on the other side of the facade of daily life.

They invoke memories you forgot you had. They put you in familiar places you remember so clearly yet give you an alternate ending. They help you face death and humiliation head on and with a smile. They make you laugh at your worst day, and sometimes they make you hate yourself for your best day. They create worlds and moments you can somehow tangibly experience, then they help you let go of them.

Many wizards you don’t even see. They write away or mold a scene or draw a picture. Some even live inside of us and help us get over the times we can’t possibly imagine cracking a smile. But experiences we have with funny people teach us to find the humor in our own lives. This is why we should appreciate the ones among us who have that magic. We should embrace it and encourage it. This magic is useful and beneficial for us all.

Just because comedy is an art doesn’t mean we have to consider it a dead-end career path. I’m sure at some point, Leonardo da Vinci’s parents were pretty disappointed he wasn’t making secure choices like working at the rock quarry, but thankfully, he followed his passion. He immersed himself in the thing that he was. He took his ideas and made them a reality, made them tangible to share with others. He worked his fucking magic!

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