As a budding 6-year-old comedian, I was always studying what people thought was funny. While over at my parents' friends' house, we caught Every Which Way But Loose on HBO. While not an out-and-out comedy, I noticed there were a few laughs from the grown-ups very now and then.
The biggest laugh was after Clint Eastwood beats the crap out of the Black Widows, a biker gang. As our hero makes his getaway, Clyde the orangutan pops out of the back of the truck and flips them off.
I didn't know why it was funny, but I couldn't ignore the laughs it got. I made a mental note to try it out on my friends.
A few days later at lunch, I saw my friend Jimmy waiting in the hot-lunch line. Now was the time.
"Jimmy!" I yelled across the cafeteria. He whipped his head around, saw it was me, and waved.
I held down my ring and index fingers down with my thumb (as novice bird-flippers often do), and let the bird fly. Jimmy practically exploded with laughter, and I glowed, proud that I had performed the gag satisfactorily.
I saw a shadowy figure swoop in from my left; it was one of the other first-grade teachers, and did she look pissed.
"I don't ever want to see you do that again!" she yelled at me. "Do you understand me?"
I was so shocked--I had no idea I'd done something wrong--that I could only nod numbly. Jimmy came to the table a few minutes later, and I was still so shaken that my eyes were welling up with tears. Yes, I was a wuss.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
I held up the half-eaten sweet pickle from my lunch and explained that while eating it, I bit the inside of my cheek. Somehow it was OK to almost be in tears for that rather than being shrieked at by a teacher.
Now here's the clip that lead me down the path of unbridled evil. DO NOT copy what Clyde the orangutan does if grown-ups around. Learn from my mistakes, people.