Did you ever play "make me laugh" as a kid? Or maybe you called it something like "If you love me baby, smile". Either way, these were some of the great party games of my child/teen hood. You know the game- you have to do something to make another person laugh, but if they laugh, they are it. I have probably played these kinds of games hundreds of times, and became quite a pro at them. This talent for soberness paid off "big-time" for me in my time of need.
It was my 20th birthday and I was still attending Eastern Arizona College. My birthday fell on a weekday, and there was really nothing to do in this small town, so I had not made plans... and apparently, neither had any of my "friends!" Anyway, I had heard of something going on that night at the school auditorium called "Make me Laugh" and was immediately interested. I asked any of my friends or roommates if they wanted to go with me to see what all the hub-bub was about... and since it was my birthday and everything, nobody did. Thanks again, friends of mine. I guess they had a good excuse - there was a really good show on television that they didn't want to miss. Well, being pretty secure with who I was - I didn't need friends. I went alone.
When I got to the auditorium they had everyone draw a ticket at the door. I wasn't sure why, but I soon found out. They started calling people out of the audience to help with the entertainment. My number (surprisingly enough) was the FIRST one called, and so up I went onto the stage in front of at least a couple hundred people. I was told that they were going to try to make me laugh (they had a few comedians there that night that had their own stand-up comedy shows on cable TV) and that if I could go for 30 seconds without laughing, or even smiling, I would be able to spin the money wheel. What? Money was involved? SCORE! I thought back to all my days of trying not to laugh while playing laughing games. My secret was that I always had to concentrate on something really SAD! I remember just sitting there in front of everyone trying to think about death and taxes and things. First, a man comes out from behind the curtain with women's lingerie on over his clothes. He was talking and walking like a woman. So what!? I kept it cool. I remember someone coming right up to my face and picking their nose and saying something stupid. Not funny. So, I spun the money wheel and won a cool $50. WOW, for a poor, job-less student that could bye groceries for a month! Here was the catch: I could take on another 30 seconds and go "double or nothing" with another spin on the wheel. Well, being the dare-devil that I am, (HA) I decided to just go for it! I mean, it was not really that funny, and, well, I kind of rock at this game! So, I can't even remember what they did the second time... It WAS a long time ago! I do remember that it got harder not to laugh, though. I did make it another 30 seconds, and this time I won $100 dollars on the wheel. $150 in just one minute isn't bad!! The night continued for another hour or so, with student after student being called up to try not to laugh. For the "finale" they had planned on having the top 3 "money makers" come back up for one last face off and chance to spin the wheel. It would have been a GREAT plan, but unfortunately NOBODY else that night even made it through their first 30 seconds! I was the only one who had won money at all! So, they called me up and told me that I got to spin the wheel one last time because I was the winner! Did you hear that friends? I was the WINNER! It was my birthday, and I was the winner! I won a total of $200 that night... and what did I do with the money? Groceries? Rent? Tuition? NO WAY! I took a big group of "friends" out for pizza and a night of bowling to celebrate my birthday! Moral of the story? Never let a "good" TV show ruin your fun!