Humour in the time of coronavirus

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KARAN THAPAR

Nancy Mitford’s thoughts turned to love in a cold climate. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s went in a very similar direction except it was a time of cholera. Mine, I’m afraid, are more prosaic. It’s not amour that I’ve turned to but humour. Let’s see if I can make you laugh in this time of the coronavirus!

Fear of the virus has tickled the funny bone in many of us. When my emails and WhatsApps aren’t frightening the living daylights out of me, they actually have me chortling and even laughing out loud. The humour the world is sharing is particularly good.

Shashi Tharoor sent this. He was playing with the different ways you can say something has died. “It is with great sadness that I have to mention the loss of a few further local businesses around our town. The specialist in submersibles has gone under, the manufacturer of food blenders has gone into liquidation, a dog kennel has had to call in the retrievers, the suppliers of paper for origami enthusiasts has folded, the Heinz factory has been canned as they couldn’t ketchup with orders, the tarmac-laying company has reached the end of the road, the bread company has run out of dough, the clock manufacturer has had to wind down and gone cuckoo, the Chinese has been taken away, the shoe shop has had to put his foot down and give his staff the boot and finally the laundrette has been taken to the cleaners!”

Leila Baig decided to have fun at the expense of different branches of the medical profession: “The American Medical Association has weighed in on Trump’s Covid-19 response: The allergologists were in favour of scratching it, but the dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.The gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve. Meanwhile, obstetricians felt certain everyone was labouring under a misconception, while the ophthalmologists considered the idea short-sighted. Pathologists yelled, ‘Over my dead body!’, while the paediatricians said, ‘Oh, grow up!’ The psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the radiologists could see right through it. The plastic surgeons opined that this proposal would ‘put a whole new face on the matter’. The anaesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the cardiologists didn’t have the heart

to say no.”

Some of the wittiest are one-liners. They can go viral almost as fast as Covid-19! The first collection is about what the coronavirus has done to the economy. “The economy is so bad parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names, a truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico, the Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates, and, finally, I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, social security, retirement funds, etc, I called the suicide hotline. I got a call centre in Afghanistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.”

The second lot is about what this wretched virus is doing to our lives. “(1) Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem, (2) Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pyjamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom. (3) This morning I saw a neighbour talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog… we laughed a lot. (4) I’m so excited – it’s time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?”

Finally, due to the coronavirus and the paralysed economy, the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off!

(HT Media)