Keeping up with Kincaid: Am I the comedic side character?

Campus+editor%2C+Laken+Kincaid%2C+discusses+how+different+news+media+is+interpreted+in+a+city+like+Cleveland.

Andrea Martin

Campus editor, Laken Kincaid, discusses how different news media is interpreted in a city like Cleveland.

Laken Kincaid, Campus Editor

I will be honest, I love attention. Like people who are addicted to caffeine or other stimulants, affection and admiration are a drug to me. My name sounds like a melody coming from another person’s mouth and it sends a rush of dopamine through my body. Just knowing I am crossing another person’s mind makes me giddy. In short, I adore being talked about. 

However, I understand I can not always be the center of attention, despite my best efforts. While I want the spotlight to be pointed at me, I find I am often in the shadow of another, more prominent character. I am often the supportive best friend who helps their colleague through a break up by offering ice cream and pitchforks. I am sometimes the villain that people draw devil horns on in yearbook photos. Yet, more often than not, I find myself as the butt of a good joke. 

Perhaps I say this with a twinge of jealousy, but I have recognized that my humor has made me a comedic side character in my own life. I have adopted laughter as one of my main personality traits because I know it gives me the attention I crave. I spit jokes out like they are sunflower seeds and hope they land among the best audience. As my own self-critic, I evaluate who I am around and decide how I should summon smirks. Do I deploy self depreciative jokes and giggle at my own expense? Do I use dark humor at the chance of being socially exiled? Or do I just say a random word in the middle of a conversation and pretend it is an onomatopoeia?

I cycle these strategies through my head. But, I have begun to understand how this game plan has hidden me from the limelight; my issues become comical in the face of other more prominent problems. I have no place to voice my concerns without losing my humorous touch. I have become an exhibit of my own ludicrous ways and I have no way to voice my feelings unless they are encompassed with a rhetorical question or cynical remark. I have used humor so much to get attention that it has become a coping mechanism. It has become a cry for help in an abyss surrounded by people who have much larger issues than my own. It is lost in the echo of the leading personalities who people know are not two dimensional laughing stocks. 

If I feel distraught, I make a joke about my mental health. If I feel slighted by another individual, I laugh about them to others. Never do I actually allow myself to feel these negative emotions because that is not what the comedic relief does. The comedic relief is always the figure of fun who breaks a serious moment in a television show or movie; they are never the source of the serious moment. If I feel tears, I am expected to push them away with a laugh and grin so those around me can vent their emotions. 

Yet, I suppose there is give and take with life and the characters it presents. If I want attention constantly, I have to be able to disregard the consoling that may benefit my person. Instead, I will continue cracking jokes and dropping lines in an attempt to increase my personal self worth. The more laugh tracks that could play behind my dialogue, the better. Why else would I buy a pope costume while attending a Catholic university? I want the eyes of JCU to be on me and for them to discuss my antics as if I am Patrick Star in Spongebob Squarepants’ expansive world. I am the Karen Smith of Northshore High or Kronk from Emperorer’s New Groove. I am an Olaf in a world of Annas and Elsas. I understand that I am meant to be reverberation of chortling and nothing more.

After all, people look at you when you’re making a fool of yourself.