Because he was trapped in a box for most of his childhood.
The thing to remember about Ian McKellan, is not that he is gorgeous, because you don’t need to remember that, because that notion is imprinted so tautly around the very concept of Ian McKellan that it would be a waste of time to attach extra neurons to remembering his gorgeousness. Ian McKellan IS beauty. You don’t need to separate the ideas. It’s almost tautological to put both ideas in the same sentence.
When he was in Waiting for Godot locally, I made excuses to go out every evening, just on the off chance I’d casually bump into him in the pub. It would’ve been magic.
Speaking of magic, Ian McKellan once played a wizard probably more famous than he is. He looked hot. He suits a big crooked hat. And a beard. But then, he suits everything.
I probably can’t get away with filling a whole five hundred words with Ian McKellan being gorgeous (I mean, I could, but I doubt it would be particularly interesting for the reader, either you’ve attuned to the joy of McKellan, or you have no heart, I’m not exactly going to be able to fix that in one short post…though I imagine Ian could).
Jokes are about defying expectation, being a little cruel, and some amount of absurdity. That’s not all jokes, but that’s always been my model for making up jokes (the question and first line are a joke I made up a long time ago). Occasionally I include a pun, but often the absence of a pun is funny enough in its own right. The best punned joke I came up with was ‘What do you call a depressed French footballer?’ – ‘Thierry Ennui’.
The best unpunned joke was also about a footballer. ‘Why can’t Ian Wright sit down?’ – ‘Because he hasn’t got an arse’.
They’re pretty much perfect jokes, if you ask me. Fulfilling all the criteria to make me smile.
The problem is, jokes are a bit shit. It’s not the best way to be funny. Even if you’re quite good at it, you’re still going to find your material being rehashed badly by amateurs for years. I am probably not going to have that issue, admittedly. My jokes may only work if you’re me. In case you hadn’t noticed.
But there’s always this cruelty thing. We don’t feel empathy for Thierry or the celebrity Ians. We laugh at them instead. The absurdity protects us from the unpleasantness. Does the laughing ward off the tragedy? Or does the warding provide the comedy? I don’t like that validated cruelty, which is probably why I like my jokes as either pure puns, or absolute absurdity. I can be safely sure that the no assed Ian Wright joke doesn’t tacitly support people’s prejudices against people without asses. I slightly worry that the Ian McKellan joke is insensitive to those who’ve suffered child abuse.
When I’m worried, I think of Ian McKellan.
Illustration by Helen