It’s official. I’m statistically funnier than my sibling. Which makes me funnier than three entire people in this world – no mean feat. Or at least, if I read the fine print on a recent YouGov survey, I am like 46% of Youngest Sibling: ‘more likely to think they are funny’.
Which sounds to me like YouGov are trying to passive aggressively infer that we’re not as funny as we think we are. To which I say, knock knock. Who’s there? YouGov. YouGov who? You Gov me cos I’m funny.
I first decided I wanted to be funny when I was about six years old. A man called Jonathan lived down our road and when he visited, he had a way of making Pops laugh like I’d never seen him laugh before. Dad was crying, howling, roaring with laughter. I was like, what the shit is going on with Dad? Is he alright? This is a new emotion I have not seen in him before. I want to be the one to make people cry, howl and roar with laughter, for it is clearly a winning personality trait! And I do so love to win.
As the youngest of four, most other traits were already statistically taken by the others. My eldest sibling was more likely to be more successful, responsible, organised and self-confident. The middle-children were more likely to be well adjusted adults, trailblazers, good listeners, ambitious and independent. Good listening is definitely not a trait I nurtured. Guaranteed, when you’re talking, I’m thinking about food.
Which left me with humour. I soon learned a little humour went a long way. But it was a craft that needed honing. Indeed it was the successful, responsible, organised, self-confident eldest sibling who helped me on my way. We were sitting at the piano one day, circa 1994, when I said without realising how lucky I was that the piano brand happened to be Wellard and not Yamaha, ‘It’s my turn to play. I mean come on, this piano’s named after me…’ then with a quick glance at the emblem, I added: ‘Wellard.’ (Spoken, it sounded like ‘well hard’, as in ‘tough nut’. I was 12, I add before you judge me.)
Upon hearing the comedy gold I’d just accidentally stumbled upon, I roared with laughter, slapped my own thigh and self-congratulated until Eldest Sibling interrupted me. ‘That was funny,’ she said. ‘But don’t laugh at your own jokes.’
Which must have been an important lesson because I heeded her advice. Once I’d wiped away the laughter tears and replayed the moment 100 times in my head.
These days, I’d rather be told I was funny than beautiful or thin. Well, no, realistically I’d rather be told I was a beautifully thin funny person. And let’s face it, whatever semblance of beauty youth provided fades with age and as for being thin, I do like pudding and I do love candy, a big box of chocolates does often come in handy. But funny, funny I intend to keep nurturing long after beauty and thin are dead to me. Funny is what I’m looking for in any given moment. Is there a pun here? Can I slam-dunk some wit into this conversation with the postman?
I’ve picked myself some very funny friends, the kind I can spar with. Sometimes we’re all so competitively looking for the next pun about whatever subject matter we’re punning, the room goes silent. Silent with anticipation.
Then there’s my husband – he’s a different kind of funny. Whereas I’m all about words, he’s more physical. He’s currently perfecting a routine where he eats his lunch while talking me through a yoga routine as if he’s on an infomercial.
‘Take your legs about hip distance apart, be sure to keep your hips back, bend over and shove the fajita into your mouth,’ he says, then carries on instructing in a calm, serious, yoga-tone while his mouth is full of food. It’s brilliant, I swear. I want to film him and put him on YouTube but he just likes to amuse himself, unlike old desperate-for-the-adulation-of-the-masses over here.
I can’t do physical humour so I really love laughing at his monkeying around. But guess what? He’s the eldest sibling. WHAT THE HELL YOUGOV!
There’s no doubt that regardless of who is the funniest member of my family, I definitely think it’s me. The youngest child is more often than not brought up to believe they are Jesus reincarnated, so of course we think we are funniest. We think we are all the Best Things. Because whenever we did anything growing up, everyone applauded and told us we were great, so now we think we are The Everything.
Or is that just me? The survey didn’t think to include: Youngest Children who ignore the fact that Eldest Child did indeed turn out to be more successful, responsible, organised and self-confident and the fact that Middle-Child did indeed turn out to be a trailblazer, a good listener, ambitious and independent and focus on the one thing that makes Youngest Child feel good: Youngest Child is hilarious, as far as Youngest Child is concerned.