Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Joke's On Us

     When I was forwarded a couple of articles recently about a YouGov study that found the youngest sibling is the funniest in the family, I have to admit, I thought it was some kind of joke. A bad joke. I mean, I know that wasn’t the case in my family. I was definitely the stand-up sibling. The family fool. I once put raisins up my nose to make my sister laugh. Now that's funny. (It wasn’t so funny when I started laughing along with her and inhaled the raisins, but that’s another story for another post.) Granted, this study was conducted in the UK, so maybe things are different over there. And the study actually found that the youngest sibling is more likely to think they’re the funniest. There’s a big difference between thinking you’re funny and actually being funny, so that’s some consolation. But that’s not what was really disturbing about these reports.
     One of the articles was titled “The Youngest Sibling Is the Funniest, Study Finds, But Older Siblings Aren’t Forgotten.” Uhmm, I’ll tell you who is forgotten. How about the Middle Child!? The article mentions oldest children, younger children, even only children. But there’s NOT ONE WORD about Middle Children. Nada. Zilch. In fact, the entire YouGov study is focused solely on oldest and youngest sibs, as if the Middle Child doesn’t even exist. Now that is truly funny.
     The second article, “Your younger sibling is funnier than you (at least that’s what they say),” suggests there might be evidence to back up the claim. It cites Dr. Kevin Leman, New York Times best-selling author of “The Birth Order Book” and countless other titles dealing with birth order and parenting. In “My Youngest, There’s No One Like You,” Dr. Leman asserts that most comedians are the youngest children in their families. He lists Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Crystal, Ellen De Generes, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, and Jon Stewart to prove his point.
     Now, I’ve got no bones to pick with Dr. Leman. In fact, he reached out and offered encouragement for my #MidKidStrike back in 2013. So it is with all due respect that I take issue with the good Doctor’s claim. Granted, he put together an impressive team. I’ll give him that. I’m sure he spent more time than me researching the topic, but in the short amount of time I did spend, I was able to put together a pretty powerful lineup as well. 

     My Middle Child roster includes Judd Apatow (WATCH), Johnny Carson, Dana Carvey (WATCH), Dave Chappelle (WATCH), James Corden, Kevin James (WATCH), Martin Lawrence (WATCH), David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Ray Romano, and Amy Schumer. Take that! And I’m putting Jon Stewart (WATCH) on my team, too. Even though he was the youngest child from his father’s first marriage, his father had two more sons from a second marriage, so he’s technically a Middle Child. I’m sure I could find even more, but I’ve got better things to do with my time. Okay, maybe I don’t, but that’s beside the point.
     I don’t know why any of this should even bother me anyway. What if Dr. Leman in right -- so what? Who cares if most comedians really are youngest siblings? That hardly means most younger siblings are the funniest in the family, no matter what they think. Besides, there are way more youngest siblings that aren't comedians. So there. The whole thing is ridiculous. I’m laughing so hard, I’m crying.
     Or maybe I’m just crying.

Enjoy a few more laughs with these Middle Child comedians:

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Middle Children need to be heard!