by Marc Kaye & Alex Barnett
Dads come from many different backgrounds, and we’re in various stages of life and relationships. Some of us are in our twenties; others are pushing fifty. We might be married, single or divorced. Our kids range in age from infants to teenagers, and some of us are granddads. Some of us grew up in single-parent households, and some had both parents at home.
Despite all the differences, and regardless of who you are and where you came from, fatherhood is a state of mind. What matters is that you are there. And as we all know, being there isn’t always easy. Often, that’s where the comedy comes in.
It’s like that fated call on an airplane: “Is there a doctor on board?” Sometimes situations with your kids call for a jester to save the moment—and that’s where you come in.
Baby wipes are important, but trust us, a sense of humor comes in very handy when dealing with a poop explosion. It’s also very useful when handling a whole new set of questions from your pre-pubescent son within earshot of your entire family, or when you’re just managing a kid’s tantrum. Life with kids is full of these chaotic moments, and without humor these trying experiences can quickly become overwhelming.
Remembering to see the humor in stressful times is not easy. Pressures from the outside are constant. And as bad as those are, more often than not, we (because of our manly pride and need to be the “strong father figure”) add to that stress.
Sometimes it’s not easy to see the funny when the bacon you worked so hard to bring home falls on the floor and is eaten by the dog. Sometimes it’s not laugh-out-loud funny when you can’t get your kids ready for school on time despite detailed written instructions from their mom. Sometimes the teenager with attitude isn’t material for a sitcom, but more like a real-life knot that is difficult, if not impossible, to untangle.
But all these things can be funny because they’re messy and imperfect. And imperfection is often funny because it’s human. So, in that moment when you want to run outside and do a primal scream because of something your child just did, look at it as the makings of a hilarious story you can tell your friends at the next poker game or golf outing.
A healthy sense of humor doesn’t necessarily come naturally; it’s a muscle you can exercise like any other. But as a dad, humor can really come in handy and help you make the most of those little (and sometimes big) wins along the weird fatherhood trip you are taking. Like the insane laughter with snot pouring out your kids’ noses. Or the times when you come home to cries of “Daddy!” and get mugged as you enter the house, and pull a muscle in your back. Or the kid who “larts” (a combination laugh/fart).
The point is, fatherhood demands that you have a sense of the absurd, a sense of humor, and an ability to laugh at yourself and at life. It’s not always easy. Sometimes, it’s almost impossible. But, as long as you have breath in your body, you can use that breath to laugh.
Just Be the House Jester. Just Be DAD.
Marc Kaye is a comedian, writer and songwriter who performs regularly in the greater NYC area and has produced various web series, movie shorts and skits. He is a dad of two, a member of The Dads of Comedy and he blogs regularly about comedy, parenthood and his ongoing quest to quiet the never ending chatter in his mind. You can follow him on Twitter @MarcKaye1 and on his blog here.
Comic and writer Alex Barnett, one of the co-founders of The Dads of Comedy, is the White, Jewish husband of a Black woman (who converted to Judaism) and the father of a 3-year-old, biracial son. He’s appeared on the Katie Couric Show, been featured on Sirius/XM Radio’s “Raw Dog Comedy,” NBC’s EVB Live, and in VH1.com, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and CNN.com. You can follow him on Twitter @barnettcomic and find out more on his website here.