When it comes to boomer humor, it was more of an evolution than a revolution. Back in the day, most anything was fair game! For some, the pinnacles were such iconic publications as Mad Magazine and the caricatures of Alfred E. Neuman, rooted deeply in political issues of the day. It was humor with a statement.
Growing up in the fifties and sixties, we boomers had few media options beyond television, movies, and print. Hence the baby boomer generation as a whole has some pretty common points of reference with respect to boomer humor. By and large, we watched the same stuff from the same sources.
Although rooted in prior decades, short subject episodes of the Little Rascals or the Three Stooges might be the real origins of boomer humor---forever running around, clunking each other, and challenging authority, or for that matter anyone wearing a white shirt and tie. Even cartoons like Popeye, always fighting Bluto, showed us that good would still trump the evil bully, albeit violent along the way. But it was Mad magazine---first created in 1952---that ultimately became the real stan- dard bearer for boomer humor in earlier years. It challenged virtually any form of authority, be it the government, religion, schools, our own parents, and even our favorite TV shows (Bonanza), sports figures (Mickey Mantle), comic strips (Peanuts), and other magazines (Playboy).
Sometimes considered the fathers of boomer humor, comedians such as Redd Foxx, Alan King, George Carlin and Richard Pryor moved away from skits and bits to talk about con- temporary issues like Viet Nam, drugs, urban poverty, and other political hot buttons. Boomer humor was in essence the theme for such TV shows like Rowan and Martin's Laugh -In, followed by the short-lived Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour, and the early years of Saturday Night Live. Sit-coms like All in the Family, Roseane, and Married With Children made us laugh as well, showing us family life and situations far removed from what we knew in the fifties. Sometimes edgy, sometimes angry, and sometimes ironic, boomer humor covered a lot of ground.
Today, is it any wonder that boomer humor still thrives with the likes of our own comedic age cohorts---Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Robin Williams, Ellen Degeneres, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Maher and others? Boomer humor is alive and well!
Boomer Humor Today
Now that the oldest baby boomers are well into their fifties and earlier sixties, it's no wonder that boomer humor has shifted right along with them---we laugh about age! Fortunately, we can argue that we boomers are in much better physical shape than previous generations confronting age. Still, a lot of these "age" jokes are just plain funny, no matter the target! Of course, none of this boomer humor would apply to us, ...would it, such as the four stages of life:
- You believe in Santa Claus
- You don't believe in Santa Claus
- You are Santa Claus
- You look like Santa Claus
...or some of our favorite golden oldie songs modified:
- Olivia Newton John -- Let's Get a Physical
- Herman's Hermits -- Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker
- Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell -- Ain't No Burrito Mild Enough
- The Bee Gees -- How Can You Mend a Broken Hip
- Chuck Berry -- Johnny B. Olde
- Little Eva -- The Lack O' Motion
- Bobby Darin -- Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash
- Ringo Starr -- I Get By With a Little Help From Depends
- Roberta Flack -- The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face
- Johnny Nash -- I Can't See Clearly Now
- Willie Nelson -- To All the Girls I've Disappointed Before
- The Beatles -- A Hard Day's Nap
- Paul Simon -- Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver
- Commodores -- Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom
- Marvin Gaye - Heard it through the Grape Nuts
- Procol Harem -- A Whiter Shade of Hair
- Leo Sayer -- You Make Me Feel Like Napping
- The Temptations -- Papa's Got a Kidney Stone
- Abba -- Denture Queen
- Tony Orlando -- Knock 3 Times On The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall
- Helen Reddy -- I am Woman, Hear Me Snore
- Willie Nelson -- On the Commode Again
Remember the Critical Life Lessons Your Mother Taught You
- Logic: "Because I said so, that's why!"
- Stamina: "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone!"
- Envy: "There are millions of less fortunate kids in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do!"
- Hypocracy: "If I told you once, I've told you a million times-don't exaggerate!"
- Irony: "Keep laughing and I'll give you something to cry about!"
- Weather: "It looks like a tornado went through your room!"
- Behavior Modification: "Stop acting like your father!"
- Physics: "If I yelled because I saw a meteor coming toward you, would you listen then?"
- Contortionism: "Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck?"
- Science of Osmosis: "Shut your mouth and eat your supper!"
- Foresight: "Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident!"
- Time Travel: "If you don't straighten up, I'll knock you into next week!"
- Religion: "You better pray that will come out of the carpet!"
- A Job Well Done: "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside, I just finished cleaning!"
- The Circle of Life: "I brought you into this world, I can take you out!"
Lessons You Learned As A Child
- You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
- No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
- Never hold a dustbuster and a cat at the same time.
- You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
- When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
- Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
- If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
- Never ask a 3-year old to hold a tomato.
- Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a tic-tac.
- School lunches stick to the wall.
- Never wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
Lessons You Learned As An Adult
- There's always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it. For example, I am sitting here thinking about how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt.
- Families are like fudge...mostly sweet with a few nuts.
- The more you complain, the longer God lets you live.
- The best way to keep kids at home is to make the home a pleasant atmosphere...and let the air out of their tires.
- You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoes and wonder what else you can do while you're down there.
- Raising teenagers is like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree.
- Middle age is when you choose cereal for the fiber, not the toy.
- If you can remain calm, you don't have all the facts.
- Reason to smile: Every seven minutes of every day, someone in an aerobics class pulls a hamstring.
- Eat a live toad first thing in the morning, and nothing worse can happen to you the rest of the day.
The "Real" Facts of Life
- Middle age is when work is a lot less fun - and fun a lot more work.
- You know you're middle aged when you realize that caution is the only thing you care to exercise.
- Middle age is when it takes longer to rest than to get tired.
- A man has reached middle age when he is cautioned to slow down by his doctor instead of by the police.
- Middle age is when you stop growing at both ends, and start growing in the middle.
- You're getting old when you don't care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don't have to go along.
- Statistics show that at the age of seventy, there are five women to every man. Isn't that the darndest time for a guy to get those odds?
- You know you're getting on in years when the girls at the office start confiding in you.
- Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.
- By the time you're wise enough to watch your step, you're too old to go anywhere.
- There are three signs of old age. The first is your loss of memory, the other two I forget.
You're Really Not Getting Old Unless...
- Your back goes out more than you do.
- Your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.
- You wake up looking like your driver's license picture.
- People call at 9 PM and ask, "Did I wake you?"
- A 'late night' now ends at 11 pm.
- You start recording daytime game shows.
- It takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.
- Your idea of weight lifting is standing up.
- Your joints are more accurate than the National Weather Service.
- Many of your co-workers were born the same year that you got your last promotion.
- You can't remember the last time you laid on the floor to watch television.
- Your ears have more hair than your head.
- You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.
- You feel like the morning after when you haven't been anywhere the night before.
- Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.
- You find yourself beginning to like accordion music.
- You buy a compass for the dash of your car.
- Younger women start opening doors for you.
- You learn where your prostrate is.
- The clothes you've put away until they come back in style... have come back in style.
- Happy hour is a nap.
- Your childhood toys are now in a museum.
- You wonder how you could be over the hill when you don't remember being on top of it.
- Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
- You sing along with elevator music.
- It takes twice as long to look half as good.
- You finally got your head together, now your body is falling apart.
- You come to realize that your worst enemy is gravity.
- Getting lucky means you find your car in the parking lot.
- You frequently find yourself telling people what a loaf of bread used to cost.
- You don't remember being absent-minded.
- You are proud of your lawn mower.
- Your new easy chair has more options than your car.
- You take a metal detector to the beach.
- The car that you bought brand new becomes an antique.
- There's nothing left to learn the hard way.
- Your sweetie says, "Lets go upstairs and make love," and you answer, "Honey, I can't do both!"
- Your friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes and you're barefoot.
- You know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions.
Now That I'm Older and Wiser, I Realize That...
- If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
- He who hesitates is probably right.
- Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.
- If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?
- I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.
- Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.
- Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
- If the shoe fits......buy it in every color!
But No Matter What Age We Are, We Should Always Remember...
- A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
- Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.
- Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.
- You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing. The best remedy is boomer humor!
- We cannot change the direction of the wind... but we can adjust our sails.
- Have an awesome day, and know that someone has thought about you today! Enjoy boomer humor!
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