Today we explore an important, commonly used phrase in the My TV, My Peanut Butter lexicon:
“To bring the funny” (verb phrase)
Definition: To amuse us. To include humor. To entertain.
Etymology: While I cannot say with any degree of certainty that this was the origin of the phrase in general, the phrase was first introduced to Kristy and Cammy through The West Wing episode “Seventeen People.” Incidentally, this was the episode I used to convince Cammy that she did, in fact, love The West Wing and that she wanted to continue watching it obsessively with me (Ainsley Hayes was my secret weapon). In this episode the phrase is used as a critique of a speech written for the White House Correspondents’ dinner which was apparently less than entertaining. The writers “forgot to bring the funny” and one of the plots of the episode is a large portion of the cast attempting to “find the funny” in order to make the speech successful.
Cammy and I frequently use this as a critique of television episodes (or fanfics. Don’t judge) that fail to amuse us the way we want to. Such episodes “forget to bring the funny” or “don’t bring the funny.” When West Wing kinda sucked for a couple seasons, it was largely because it forgot to bring the funny. Incidentally, the phrase “the funny” can occasionally be used as a stand alone phrase to mean “that which makes something amusing.” My good buddy Russell once insisted that a missing nuclear submarine qualified as “the funny” but I’m still less than convinced.
A particular character may be praised for “bringing the funny.” Cammy likes her almost namesake on Bones because “she brings the funny.”
It is important to understand that neither Cammy nor I tend to watch comedies. I would never say “How I Met Your Mother brings the funny.” It would not be incorrect so much as unidiomatic. “Bringing the funny” is something that happens mostly in otherwise serious situations; it is a technique for creating levity which helps us process and cope with said situations. The aforementioned West Wing episode is a great example. The major plotline of the episode is heavy and ominous, but it is balanced by “the funny” of the speech writing and Ainsley/Sam, Josh/Donna banter. (I’m being deliberately vague since one of our five readers has just finished West Wing Season 1 and I don’t want to spoil the brilliance of this episode).
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that if you want My TV, My Peanut Butter to enjoy something, it definitely helps to bring the funny. And if we are able to bring the funny, even a little bit, here on our little blog, well that makes us extremely happy.