Back when I was a teenager learning the fine art of smartassery, I decided it was time to see if you could really slip on a banana peel and if it was actually funny. Unfortunately it was not the sort of thing one could work out theoretically, So I dropped a banana peel on the hallway floor, took about ten steps back, turned round, and carefully calculating the number of strides required to reach the peel at a natural gait, I walked toward the banana peel, stepped firmly upon it and skidded several feet before falling in a humorous heap, twisting my knee. Wow, I thought, that really was funny. The three foot banana peel smear that the experiment left in the hallway carpeting was also funny. Rather than attempt to clean it up, I told my mom my brothers did it. Also funny.
All this came in useful many decades later when I was working downtown. I was walking around on my lunch break with a secretary from the office I probably shouldn’t have been walking around with when suddenly I skidded several feet and landed in a humorous heap, twisting my knee. A banana peel. Did you slip on that? the secretary asked. Apparently so, I said. On a banana peel? Yes, and I think it twisted my knee. Now that’s funny, she said. But I already knew that. And I limped back to the office awestruck at the universal laws of comedy where the secretary told all my coworkers I’d slipped on a banana peel and everyone laughed and laughed till I hated that joke.
But it was funny.
Which reminds me of the time you were driving some of us around and there was a banana peel in the street and you made the car slip around.
Is that true?
Yes! It was a brilliant moment of improvisational comedy.