Hump Day Humor with Ben — Don’t Try This At Home!

Youth Specialties
June 9th, 2010

For many of our tribe, Wednesdays often feel like a mountain in the middle of our week. Whether its Wednesday night youth group, a board meeting, or hanging out with a student devastated about their most recent break-up, sometimes we just need a good laugh to help us clear the “hump day.” So, without further adieu, here is the this week's installment of Hump Day Humor with Ben.

Sometimes I wonder how many of our students come to youth group because they are allowed to do things there that they would probably not get away with at home. Whether it’s a game involving shaving cream, staying up all night playing Halo, chubby bunny, or contests to see who can belch the loudest after consuming a 2 liter of soda and an entire pizza. Certainly there is more to our youth ministries than these activities, but you’ve got to admit that even in the the most spiritually deep youth ministry you’re likely to find at least one or two of these shenanigans!

In high school, I remember seeing a couple of skits at youth group that had me and my peers laughing hysterically to the point of tears.

One of them was an audience participation skit that ultimately allowed the youth pastor to enact revenge on all those silly middle school students who raised their hand whenever they were given the opportunity to be “picked” for a game. The unlucky participant would exit the room and a chair would be placed in front of the audience. This chair, however, was no ordinary chair. The audience was told that the chair was actually a toilet. After explaining this to the audience, the poor volunteer was summoned back into the room and told to sit on the chair. The audience then had the opportunity to call out certain activities that the volunteer had to act out while sitting on the chair, which of course was actually a toilet.

I’m sure you are aware of how a typical teenager’s brain works. You can imagine the types of activities that the unaware volunteer had to act out! And in a teenager’s mind, seeing someone “having a seizure” while sitting on a “toilet” was pretty funny. Then there was the high school guy who would have the volunteer to stand like a tower atop the chair (mimicking, of course, the obscene toilet usage technique known to all high school guys as “sky dropping.”)

Another favorite skit involved a pre-selected and coached group of youth that would enter the room one at a time, laughing about nothing in particular. This would continue and inevitably within a few minutes everyone in the room was laughing and nobody was sure why. It was just good clean fun to have a room full of laughter.

I have come to the realization that these two activities, though they are loads of fun at youth group, are honestly ridiculous and would either be completely ignored or laughed at for all the wrong reasons if done outside the youth group setting. Trust me on this, I unfortunately speak from experience.

Both of these skits were done at my youth group around the holidays. So when Christmas rolls around, my extended family comes together for our annual Christmas party. Whoever was on for leading games that year must have forgotten them, and I distinctly remember pulling my cousin Kara aside (I believe she was in 6th grade at the time) and telling her about these two hilarious games that my youth pastor taught us a few weeks before. Feeling confident that we were about to become the life of the party, we walked back to where the family was gathered, laughing all the way there.

I’d like to say that the rest of the family joined in our laughter as we sat down. What actually happened was quite the opposite. I’m pretty sure I got “the look” from my mom – did I mention this party was for her side of the family? And then there were the nudges and whispers between uncles – “What are Ben and Kara up to now?? Why aren’t their parents doing anything?”

Pretty sure no one joined in our laughter. Actually, I take that back. After we stopped laughing and things returned to normal in the family gathering (I don’t know if “normal” and “family gathering” actually fit in the same sentence) several cousins started laughing at us and poking fun of us for our sad attempt to liven up the party.

I bet you’re wondering if I attempted the toilet game with my family. You are probably are hoping that I learned my lesson after the failed attempt to bring the laughter skit to the Christmas party. I wish I wasn’t so persistent.

Yes, I did try playing the toilet activity. And yes, it was at the same Christmas party, approximately 30 minutes after the laughter game crashed and burned. Kara and I picked the uncle that we both thought was the funniest. We instructed Uncle Tom to go wait in the kitchen while we explain the rules of the game to the rest of the family. Once we introduced the concept to the rest of the family (to this day I doubt they understood the point of the game) we called Tom back into the room. He took his seat upon the throne and . . . silence. Nobody gave him anything to act out. My grandma, in true matriarchal fashion, came to the rescue of her two silly grandkids and yelled out “driving a car!” So Uncle Tom pretended to drive a car. And of course, once again, nobody laughed. . . and then . . . more silence. Mom was the next one to call out an activity. “Watching TV!” Uncle Tom pointed an imaginary remote at an imaginary TV. By now he had a confused look on his face, but he continued to play along, not knowing he was sitting on an imaginary toilet. After Tom acted out mom’s activity, everyone was clearly losing interest. In an attempt to rescue the drowning activity, I yelled out “Uncle Tom’s watching TV on the toilet!” This garnered only a couple reserved and hushed laughs, mostly expressions of pity for the poor wanna-be-youth-pastor and his young cousin.

The moral of the story is what countless magicians, stunts people, and acrobatics have tirelessly said to thrilled audiences – “Do not try this at home.” If something is a hit at youth group, you can bet students would be grounded if they tried it at home!

Youth Specialties

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