Recently I was reminded of a little goodie from my childhood. I was searching for some form of entertainment via 'onDemand' on the television when in the top, right corner a blurb about an old movie called The Coneheads was being referenced. Do any of you remember that movie??
The Coneheads was a sketch on the Saturday Night Live television show of the late '70s about aliens with cone shaped craniums that come to Earth to observe everyday life. My mother thought the comedy sketch was hilarious and when I was nine years old, she dressed me up as, you guessed it, a conehead for Halloween. [go ahead...laugh]
She worked painstakingly on my costume. She made a cone for my head that allowed all my hair to be tucked inside. Spray painted it just the perfect flesh color. And, even included a senso-ring. Ha! Oh gawd, how I wish I had a circa 1980ish picture to share with you right now.
So while all my peer counterparts were dressed as princesses and ballerinas, I walked into my third grade class dressed like an alien with a cone-shaped head. I! Know! Now you might understand where my sense of humor comes from a little better.
Those were the years kids wore their Halloween costumes to school for the whole day. And, Halloween parties were called Halloween parties not Harvest Festivals. Truth be told, I sort of loved the originality of my costume. I wasn't like all the other kids walking around in drugstore purchased, plastic costumes that were itchy and falling apart that day. I was a homemade freakin' Conehead! I wore my cone proudly.
After being hopped up on classroom party candy, It seemed like forever waiting for dusk so Mom and I could venture out for trick or treating. At the time we lived in a mobile home park. Mostly filled with young families and older, retired folks. Not the best area for prime candy collection, but the trailer houses were close together and the drives were filled with street lights.
With every knock on the door I was asked the same question: "what are you supposed to be?" And, with every question my excitement and love of my cone dwindled. Nobody in my neighborhood thought my costume was as cool or as funny as my mother and I did. Nobody knew what the heck I was supposed to be.
Jump forward to present day: I was on the phone with Mom. I mentioned to her how I remembered that costume and how nobody in the neighborhood appreciated the fantastic-ness of the Conehead. At nine, I was expecting laughs and instead, I only received puzzled looks. Which in a nutshell is pretty much how my humor is received to this day.
But, in reminiscing about that night almost thirty years ago, we decided the problem wasn't with my costume. Because lets be honest, a nine year old alien with a conical skull is pretty damn funny. The problem was the trailer park filled with older retirees that go to bed at eight o'clock. That was our big mistake!! If I had gone trick or treating in the near-by hippie community that shared in the hilarity of the Saturday Night Live sketch, I would have had success aplenty.
Moral: Know your target audience!