Slapstick and Turning the Other Cheek

Slapstick and Turning the Other Cheek April 1, 2022


When it comes to comedy styles, I cannot help but be more inclined to the slapstick persuasion. Ever since watching Abbot and Castillo meets Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I was hooked. Don’t forget The Three Stooges the trail blazers, of course (hey Moe). Oh and Dumb and Dumber (I like a lot)! Jim Carrey goes off (one of his best if I can be so bold).

The full body expression that energizes and amplifies the whole cosmos is downright salvation in the making (too much?). We all can have a little more of this out of body experience nowadays.  Strange, but slapstick is known for its way of making violence humorous (hang with me now).

The Slap and Jesus

Kind of odd but in a way, slapstick can be something that exposes the ridiculousness of violence altogether. In ancient Greek and Roman times, the mime and pantomime were the first comedic acts that would exchange beatings to the delight of the audience. Yes, we can flip this on its head and say we are sadistic creatures just looking to embrace violence as nothing more than a laugh. But I don’t think comedy is meant to be used in this way (particularly slapstick).

It’s a way to bring us into the space of reflection: Wow, violence is kind of ridiculous. I love how comedy, in general, pushes the boundaries to the extent that sometimes it will ruffle a few feathers. Now, this can be tasteless depending on the context. I will mention briefly about the slap that was seen and heard around the world but won’t go too much into it (don’t worry, its brief). By Will Smith slapping Chris Rock , the world, I believe, has seen the ludicrously of violence altogether (and maybe the stupidly of that award show too).

Whatever side you are on, the world saw a man (a comedian to be specific) turn the other cheek (no pun attended…or maybe). It was the Sermon on the Mount being lived out right in front of our eyes. This is what it did for me, anyways. It wasn’t the wrath of Mr. Rock but the non-violent way of his actions that we witnessed. It wasn’t retribution but a simple act of turning the other cheek.

This could be a stretch. The last couple of years have been extremely difficult as a society. We keep on seeking some type of solution when really, it’s a story we need to participate with. If coming from the Jesus tradition, it’s more a story of exposing violence to redeem it (amongst other things of course). Jesus knows what a slap feels like (Mat 26:67, John 18:22, John 19:3). Christians need to do the same and expand his story.

It’s time to really step into the mucky muck of carrying our crosses and stop worry about the consequences. Suffering sucks but if we believe in resurrection, we trust in a beautiful outcome. Slapstick is a great reminder in the hope of redemption within our species (shit, the whole cosmos). Dealing with the pain of whatever comes our way is a difficult task. It blows big frothy chunks, for sure! It won’t be something we can just brush under the carpet. Being more aware of our stupidly can allow us to be freer with ourselves and at the same time, not afraid to take others’ “critiques”.

We do not want to fall into that pharisaic (bless their little hearts) trap of being offended. Jokes are made to offend all of us in one way or another. To be bullied as an adult is not comedy, of course. It is the position of not letting words be the final straw to break the camel’s back. All of us have our sensitive points. It’s normal and it’s part of being human. The question is how are we going to react? You know what Jesus would say (don’t say it please they scream – Luke 23:24).

With our social media ingrained culture, we have lost ourselves in the noise of lost in translation. We are just one meme away from catapulting to the abyss of puffed-up egos and virtue signaling.  Let us forever be aware of our own capacity to destroy each other.  There are so many ways as Jesus people to go about having a more humorous attitude towards our current culture. Let’s not be afraid of tripping over our religious shoe laces or being seen as just too much of a spiritual klutz. Be ballsy! Just hang on that slapCROSS (see what I did there?) and let that comedic blood ooze out for all to see and hear.

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