Every once in a while, we get a phone call from a listener accusing us of doing more harm than good. Yesterday, one brother said that we spend too much time joking and too little time informing our audience about things that are important. Normally, we ask such disgruntled callers if anything we said made them laugh; they usually answer yes, and it ends on a happy note. But this guy wasn’t having it. He felt that with all black folks have gone through and are still going through, there’s no time for funny.
I didn’t let him ruin my day because there’s a method to our madness.
I think humor gets people’s attention enough so we can slide in some serious topics and have a fun and balanced show every morning. And the interview Jacque Reid did with Mildred Muhammad, the ex-wife of the D.C. sniper, was confirmation of that. (If you didn’t hear it, check it out in “If You Missed It.”)
In the midst of Muhammad telling us her harrowing story of how her former husband first targeted her for death and how she and her three children lived in fear of being killed, she said that our morning show was one of the few bright spots in her life. She said she listened to the show five times a week from 6 to 10 a.m. because she knew, for sure, it would put a smile on her face.
That blew me away.
Just knowing that what we do every morning had such an impact on this woman and her family makes me feel even better about doing something that I already love – and makes me want to keep doing it. It also makes me appreciate my crew, Sybil and J. and all the people you don’t see who help put the show together every morning.
We have all become obsessed with finding the humor in almost every situation, and sometimes even we cross the line. If you could hear what’s said during the commercials, either you’d laugh along with us or begin sending prayers up immediately, depending on the topic. I think when you’re surrounded by so much news – most of it bad – it’s only natural to put a humorous spin on it or we’d be depressed most of the time.
So, I’m hoping that the president and Mrs. Obama, Ron Isley, Michael Irvin, Mo’Nique, Usher’s ex-wife, Tameka, and even the woman who got clowned after asking for tickets to the Magic City Classic yesterday morning understand how and why they find themselves being the brunt of our jokes. We dish it out, but we take it too – from each other, from the audience and from our behind the scenes crew. They can be the worst of all! But the bottom line is, if it gets a big laugh, it’s fair game. We let our funny flags fly every morning. Unashamedly.
You may not be an environment where you can joke so freely, and I suggest you gauge what’s okay and what isn’t before you fire off some funnies at work or at home. But more importantly than spreading laughs is spreading joy. The bigger point made by Miss Mildred Muhammad was that we never know how what we may say or do is making a positive difference in someone else’s life. You may think the big things you do are making the biggest impact when a wink, a smile, a hug or a joke could make someone’s day. And guess what? The person who makes your day or your season may never know it unless you tell them.
So, if someone has done something for you and you haven’t thanked them or let them know, this would be a good time to do it. I’m here to tell you it will make their day.