Since far too often we only publicly say nice things about people when they are dead I’ve decided to randomly pick a Facebook friend every day and say something nice about them.
July 8, 2019
Today’s Person: Mark Romyn!
George Carlin said that most people don’t have a sense of humor. He went on to explain that laughter is a reaction when, for a moment, one sees a series of events or some new information from a particular, unexpected perspective. The realization of the truth of that skewed perspective, along with the timing of the delivery, makes the audience laugh. But laughing at something someone else created doesn’t mean a person has a sense of humor any more than loving some song gives one a sense of music - you are reacting to someone else’s creation, and it is the person who can pluck out of their mind something which incites the reaction of the audience that has a sense of the thing. They can tap into a zeitgeist or collective unconscious and make a room dance or sing or cry or, in Carlin’s case, laugh. An actual sense of humor is a rare thing.
Mark Romyn has one of the best senses of humor of anyone I’ve ever met.
I met Mark in high school, when he was the acknowledged funniest person in the building. He was a year ahead of me, and he was the kind of funny that made us juniors feel as comedic as kidney stones. His take on any given moment was incisive, informed, and unexpectedly laterally connected to every and anything else - which is the key to comedy. I’m sure it must have been a burden on him, with people always expecting him to be funny, but even his irritated reactions to that burden were funny to them, which just made them want more. Because Mark is funny.
Our early friendship was about as awkward as one could imagine, and during a particularly difficult time, but even with that Mark was always a nice guy. I kinda but not really hung out with him and his friends very infrequently because I didn’t know him well and I had very little in common with them - except us all wanting to be around the funniest guy we knew. Mark and I were also in a small theatre company together for a while, which meant I got to see more of the twisty turns of his mind.
Eventually we kinda sorta became friends, and when he got his first book, Flyscraper, published I made a point of going to bookstores and requesting it (I knew they didn’t have it. I was trying to get them to stock it because I thought it was brilliant.) His second book, the Practical Tales for Children (Warning: Not For Children) hit the shelves and I again made a point of calling bookstores to see if they had it. And for years Velina and I would attend his “Thursday Night Combo” cabaret at Exit Theatre - even if the only performer was Mark doing a monologue.
Because Mark Romyn has one of the best senses of humor of anyone I’ve ever met. And because he is thoughtful, kind, considerate, and in a situation where an average person would have every excuse to be a dick Mark can’t help but be understanding.