2017 · Life: Mind Palace

On humor and timing

Earlier today, while I was talking to my bestie on the phone, we got into the topic of humor and how the discourse around what’s acceptable as a joke can change so quickly. This was brought on by me watching Funhaus videos from January 2016 and realising that while I’ve never really felt that nazi jokes are all that funny even if they’re contextually relevant in the form of a WW2 game, these days they seem downright sinister. Even more so coming from three young white men. Not to cast aspersions on the Funhaus crew (though a lot can be said about normalising racist-sexist-transphobic language and how prevalent that is in the mainstream youtube gamer community) but some things can no longer be said in jest – and this is a good thing.

Humor is dependent on the current climate, but I also think direction has a lot to do with it. It’s less about who the joke is about, but rather at whose expense – is the punchline that girls are fat, or is the girl in the joke just a fat person that isn’t being made fun of? Is the teller including themselves in the joke, or are they putting themselves above it, instead making fun of the less educated, less perfect people that are “safe”?

Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

E.B. White

While I agree with the above quote to a certain extent, I still think it’s important to look at what kind of jokes we make. This has nothing to do with political correctness (the buzzword for people who don’t want to stop being racist) but rather just being a decent human being and, in the case of professional comedians, not so fucking lazy.

I’ll no doubt come back to this later – it’s something I think about a lot, but it’s late and I’ve been working all day and could use a break. Let’s leave it here for the time being.


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