One of the most frequent attributes people claim to look for in a partner is a sense a humor. Nevertheless, some of the funniest people in showbiz have had the same lop-sided luck at love as those who would fumble a knock-knock joke. Some comics will bare their hearts through their act – honestly basing their material on painful pasts. Others will create a fictitious partner to merely set a structure for their material. Often the truth lies somewhere in between, and finding it after the laughter dies down can be a tall order.
In many cases comedians have tried dating each other – which is usually a better idea on paper. Both Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman were doing well in 2009 – she had a hit cable show and he was on ABC at midnight, going up against the second half of Letterman and Leno. Yet as a couple, things were apparently no longer fun. That year they ended their relationship, one that often played out as a punchline between the two at public appearances for five years. The jokes only continued after they split. That made real emotions difficult to discern, though Silverman seemed to be directing some venom Jimmy’s way just months after the breakup. While talking with Page Six about new squeeze Alec Sulkin, she said, “The guy I’m dating now, who is so awesome, is not my typical fare. He’s really skinny. Usually I like pudgy, macho-ish guys. But I think I mistook macho-ish for strong, emotionally. And I think it’s really the opposite.” She went on to share, “I think he’s the first guy in a decade who’s given me any kind of compliment.” Kimmel, it was announced last week, will be moving into direct competition with Dave and Jay when his show swaps timeslots with Nightline in January. He is currently engaged to writer Molly McNearney.
Ironically some of the comics with the most turbulent professional lives have had the most grounded of relationships at home. Before overdosing on a heroin and morphine combination in 1982, John Belushi had maintained a loving, lengthy marriage to his high school sweetheart Judy. More recently, Dave Chappelle has led arguably the most manic career in years. Walking away from a $50M contract for his Comedy Central show because it was encroaching on his stand-up was universally seen as bizarre. Through it all, including his recent semi-retirement from the scene, his wife of twelve years has been at his side. He and Elaine now live in Ohio and seem to enjoy the privacy.
His successor at Comedy Central also seems to avoid public displays of connection – though in truth this may stem from an anxiety disorder. Daniel Tosh and his Tosh.O is presenting ratings the network hasn’t seen since- well, Chappelle. This has turned a similar media spotlight onto Tosh, who will joke about anything, but rarely discusses himself in a serious tone. In 2005 he briefly mentioned his private nature withLaughSpin.com saying, “I’ve always had a social anxiety,” adding, “I’m not a huge fan of speaking in front of people.” While plenty have speculated on his sexual identity (which Tosh himself regularly mines for laughs on his weekly show) there may be a reason he’s remained cagey on details. Speculation is that until his renewal contract is firmly in place, all parties are walking on PR eggshells. This is after all essentially the same structure deal Chappelle walked away from. Perhaps he’ll chose to be more talkative at some future date. Maybe around the time of the DVD box set release.
Finding people’s funny bone just seems to come naturally for some people. Lots of men and women learn to use humor as a means of flirting and enticing. It certainly can be a useful item to have in the tool box – even if it can wear off quickly. Comics often use their skill to get laid on the road, whether by a member of the bar staff or perhaps a drunken club patron. Many have met and married waitresses on the road, which is not that surprising. They frequently get to know the off-stage persona before seeing the other side, which is a rare find on the road. For most comics, the last thing you want to do offstage is perform, which can be disappointing in the morning light. This can lead to the comedian’s most frequent experience – the one half night stand.
So you might assume this gives comedians an edge in the game. Perhaps, but many comics carry vastly different personas offstage then the one they present under the spotlight. Stage funny and party funny are rarely the same skill, and some performers have difficulty navigating both. Many of these professionals just feel more relaxed with a few thousand anonymous voices chuckling in the dark.
Will King is a television and media critic who splits his time as a stand up comic. He collects conspiracy theories and claims to have invented Teflon. In his spare time he follows presidential politics and all traffic signs. He lives in Charlotte, NC.
Selma: Daniel Tosh is a hilarious fella. A bit offensive, but is that REALLY such a bad thing? Find a girl, Tosh… or a guy, whatever your preference may be! The emerging alternative to dating sites has become social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Each of these sites are free to join and let you chose as many “friends” as you like, with little or no limitations on communication. I recommend this Tokii Read for Tosh to help him find love on non-traditional dating sites!
Giulia: Relationships and love are wonderful things. However, being in a relationship is hard work, as Jimmy and Sarah found out. We all need to remember that the person you are dating is someone you value and treasure; that your focus and attention is on them and them alone, without losing friends or interests; and that you do not need to look elsewhere, to greener pastures, to be happy and content. I recommend this Tokii Read to help everyone in a relationship realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.