Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

Chuckles the Clown

Laughing at funerals is generally frowned upon (Irish wakes notwithstanding).
People are expected to act a certain way: maybe not grief-stricken, but at least respectful of those who are and the person who has died.  You get a lot of dirty looks if you’re the only one laughing.
In recent years, there has been a movement to make wakes and funerals and memorial services more of a celebration of life.  Laughing – in the context of shared memories – has become appropriate. 
Considered by the Chicago Tribune to be the funniest TV comedy episode of all time, "Chuckles Bites the Dust" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show concerned the death of Chuckles the Clown.  Dressed as Peter Peanut, he was trampled by a rogue elephant during a parade.  Her coworkers immediately began to make jokes, and she was horrified by what she saw as nothing less than cruelty.
But at the funeral, she suddenly finds herself unable to stifle her laughter.  Now it’s everyone else who’s disgusted.  And in a complete reversal, as soon as the minister encourages her laughter – because Chuckles hated sadness - she breaks down in tears.
Have you ever been the one to laugh when no one else did?
Maybe your memories of your friend made you giggle.
Maybe something absurd – something your friend would have thought funny – happened during the wake or funeral.
Everyone grieves differently.
Sometimes they even laugh.

Monday – A Friend You Never Met
Wednesday – How Others Look at Friendship
Friday – 9/11 & Cumulative grief