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Funny Business

Before humor writer Dave Barry comes to the Emerson Center, he gets serious with us.

Before I even say hello, I expect to be entertained. I’m about to speak with one of the funniest people in Florida, a Pulitzer Prize winner for humor. I start smiling when the phone rings.

“Hi, I’m trying to reach Melissa Sances from Vero Beach Magazine,” he says when I answer. “This is Dave Barry.”

He sounds serious. My eyebrows furrow and I wait to laugh.

Instead, I do a lot of listening. Famous for his sophomoric sense of humor, Barry, 68, is thoughtful, candid and humble. He’s satirical, too, but anything funny seems secondary.  

Interestingly enough, comedy was secondary for more than half of his life. It’s not that Barry didn’t have a “funny” destiny. Both of his parents, particularly his mom, were comic
inspirations. “The atmosphere of our house was that you didn’t take things too seriously,” the humorist says. “Nothing was
sacred. My parents were able to laugh about a lot of things,
including sometimes tragic things, because why not? I was a little
surprised when I went out into the world and found out that
not everyone’s parents were as funny as mine.”