Want to be Happy? Live Your Life Like a Sitcom

 

If you follow these simple rules for sitcom living, the chuckles will roll in like waves breaking along the seashore.

 

Do you know what’s funny? Sitcoms! Yep, few things can get a room of people going quite like the sound of subtle-as-a-shotgun witticisms punctuated by the roaring thunder of a well-mixed laugh track.

 

Do you know what’s not nearly as funny? You, most of the time. Chances are, if you step back and examine your life, you’ll discover that it’s not nearly as interesting or Charlie Sheen-filled as a sitcom. People don’t hoot and holler when you enter a room or flush the commode, none of your supporting characters are Emmy-worthy, and babies and dogs don’t mug for the camera while expressing their disapproval via voiceovers done by the likes of Pauly Shore and last season’s Bachelorette.

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That needs to change. You’ve spent way too many years hunched over an Xbox controller in your rathole of an apartment, so it’s high time you put yourself out there. If you follow these simple rules for sitcom living, the chuckles will roll in like waves breaking along the seashore.

 

First, you’ll need a catchphrase. “Hey daddy!” is still available, so why don’t you start with that one? It’s easy to use, it has broad applicability, and teenagers will love repeating it to one another. Here’s a situation where it could really come in handy:

 

Your friend: Dude, what’s the score of the Timberwolves-Raptors game?

You: Hey daddy!

[Cue laugh track. The sides of various people in the background of this scene begin to split.]

Your friend: What? What the hell does that mean? I want to know the score of this very important game between two of the NBA’s most beloved teams!

You (perhaps popping a cold brew or lighting a spliff/blunt/etc. (note to kids: don’t do drugs!)): Hey daddy!

[The laugh track continues to build in intensity. Several windows in the dorm room explode.]

Your friend: Man, whatever. Kevin Love could be going for his 59th consecutive and completely meaningless double-double and…

You (triumphantly): HEY DADDY!

[The laugh track, now as loud as a herd of jet engines, brings down the entire building.]

 

Wow. With a catchphrase like that, you’re sure to take the world by perfect storm, much like George Clooney in that movie “The Perfect Storm.” However, as the Olsen Twins learned to their chagrin, you can’t spend the rest of your life coasting on one sweet line. You’ll need an exciting, ever-changing series of love interests, too. I’ve written a number of past columns about the intricacies of tracking such people down, so if you require more detailed instructions, you can start by looking there. If you’re in a hurry, though, just cruise on over to Craigslist’s “Casual Encounters” section and post a “Looking for sitcom-style love interest; must be relatable and guy-or-girl next door-ish” advertisement in the appropriate section.

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Once your love interest is in place, you can begin focusing on witty banter and good storylines. These two aspects of the sitcom go together like the horse and carriage, and if you handle them correctly, you’ll have hundreds of fresh opportunities to shoehorn “Hey daddy!” into your scripts. Check out this fine example of how to develop a story through hilarious dialogue:

 

Your significant other: It’s been two weeks. When are you going to put a ring on it, buddy?

You: Heeeeeeeeeeeey daddy!

[The laugh track rips through the ceiling, crushing your mini-fridge.]

Your significant other: Can’t you be serious for even a minute? I’m trying to…

You: Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey…

Your significant other: No! Stop it! I can’t take this. All you do is play the Xbox and say “Hey daddy!” And where is that laughter coming from?

You: Hey daddy, hey daddy, hey daddy!

[At this point, although your significant other wants desperately to weep, the percussive force of the laugh track has driven his or her tears back into the ducts whence they came.]

 

Goodness, isn’t that relatable? Isn’t that something that’s been more or less ripped from the few headlines that haven’t been devoted to the fact that Shake Shack beat In-N-Out Burger in a nationwide taste test? No matter how you slice it, it’s certainly something that viewers will understand and connect with, much like when a grandfatherly old robot from three thousand years in the future takes a young boy under his wing and teaches him the Kenpō style of empty-handed striking.

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As soon as you’ve internalized these simple rules for sitcom living, you’ll find yourself leading an existence that isn’t nearly as horrible as it once was. A steady diet of “Hey daddy!” will numb the pain that used to accompany caring about things, and the canned chuckles—sound engineer Charles “Charley” Douglass’ most lasting contribution to the well-being of man—will spread like a pall over the coffins where we’re going to put all of the people who drop dead from laughter.

 

 

Like what you just read?  Read more from The Moustache Club of America!

More by Oliver Lee Bateman:

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Photo–Flickr/Wendel F.

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About Oliver Lee Bateman

Good Men Project contributing editor Oliver Lee Bateman is a columnist for Al-Jazeera America and Made Man Magazine. His writing has been featured in Salon, The Atlantic, Johnny America, Stymie: A Journal of Sport and Literature, the U.S. Intellectual History Blog, STIR Journal, Mic.com, and NAP Magazine. He is also one of the founders of the Moustache Club of America and Penny & Farthing, two blogzines specializing in flash fiction and creative nonfiction that he co-curates with web developer Erik Hinton, medical consultant Nathan Zimmerman, and freelance writers Christie Chapman and J. R. Powell. Oliver is a lawyer as well as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Follow him on Twitter @MoustacheClubUS or on Google+.

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