Editorial: The state that keeps ’em laughing

  • Seth Meyers attends the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards Preview Day at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 4 in Beverly Hills, Calif. AP

Published: 4/6/2018 12:05:04 AM

New Hampshire is a funny, marginally governable place. Consider Australia. It takes up a whole continent and has nearly 20 times the population of the Granite State, yet it has only 226 lawmakers. New Hampshire, which is 317 times smaller than Australia, has 424 legislators plus five executive councilors whose job is to guard the public purse.

States of old had forts and guard houses on their borders. New Hampshire has liquor stores, plus liquor mega-stores at its toll booths. If New Hampshire had a state tool it would be a corkscrew.

Said lawmakers are not always the sharpest knives in the drawer. One, currently incarcerated, was accused of selling drugs to his fellow lawmakers at the State House. Several have had loaded guns fall out of their pants, boots and skirt while governing. New Hampshire, so we’ve heard, is where the expression “You can’t make this stuff up” comes from. Okay, you can see where we’re going with this.

New Hampshire native Daniel Webster famously said that the Old Man of the Mountain was a sign that here, New Hampshire made men. But in 2003, the Old Man fell off Cannon Mountain and landed in jumble on the side of a scenic highway. That too was a sign. What New Hampshire appears to produce now is comedians. What is it about the Granite State that warps the minds of residents enough that they become famous for being funny?

Adam Sandler, of Saturday Night Live, Happy Gilmore, The Meyerowitz Stories and much more, graduated from Manchester High School Central.

Sarah Silverman, of Saturday Night Live, Comedy Central, films, stand-up and author of The Bedwetter, grew up in Bedford.

Seth Meyers, of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, is a graduate of Manchester West whose father taught at St. Paul’s School. Earlier this month Meyers performed his stand-up act at the Capitol Center for the Arts to raise funds for two organizations that come to the aid of children at risk. He currently hosts Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC.

In an interview with Channel 9, Meyers once said, “I can only say that when I was a kid it was the coolest thing in the world that both Adam and Sarah were people I could see on television who I knew were from the Bedford and Manchester area.”

In the same interview, Meyers talked about his experiences participating in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Maybe it’s that quadrennial circus that forces the citizenry to find respite in comedy.

The list goes on. There’s Merrimack Valley High School graduate Joe Randazzo, a New York filmmaker, comic and former editor of the satirical magazine The Onion. There’s Mike O’Malley. He played Burt Hummel in Glee, writes for the sitcom Shameless and went to Nashua’s Bishop Guertin High School and then to UNH. In 2006 he gave the commencement address. Many things have been excerpted from that speech, but today, we choose this.

“Try, as often as you can, to give tribute to your friends, to stay in contact, to be at their momentous occasions. Drive across the country and go into debt for their weddings, fly across the country and be with them when their parents pass away. You cannot make any new old friends.”

There’s another wave coming behind the pioneers. Kath Barbadoro, a 2006 Concord High grad, is on the New York City comedy circuit and in the news. River Clegg, a Weare native and another stand-up comic in NYC, is a regular contributor to the “Shouts and Murmurs” skewed look at life column in the New Yorker.

So really, is New Hampshire’s state motto Live Free or Die, or Live Free and Die Laughing?

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