There’s nothing funny about suffering, except for suffering. When we suffer, it’s not funny. When other people suffer, it’s also not funny. Sometimes though, our suffering is hilarious. Sometimes, other people’s suffering is hysterical.
Most TV sitcoms try to make us laugh by showing us how characters suffer in TV land. They constantly say funny things about how they are suffering. They do ridiculous things to bring on outrageous suffering. They insult each other with wit and charm and they make funny faces when they feel the sting of an insult. We laugh because it’s not really suffering, it’s not us suffering, and we admire how well they handle their suffering. Also, we know that they will be fine within a half an hour.
As unrealistic as sitcoms are, the funny thing is that we will all be fine within a half an hour. It may take us ten years to realize it, but we are always fine, no matter what the nature of our suffering happens to be.
Our suffering isn’t funny. Other people’s suffering isn’t funny, but our suffering doesn’t affect who we are. If we were actors, with only pretend egos, we could have fun and make fun of all of our suffering as it happened. As real people, with real egos, our suffering hurts for real. As we learn to experience our suffering, knowing that we are fine, not in a half an hour, but right now, as it happens, we can handle our suffering admirably well, funny enough.