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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: The limit of humor

  1. #11
    Senior Antumbra's Avatar
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    I would think it mostly depends on the intent of the joke, the timing, and the audience.

    I heard someone make the joke about Robin Williams that with him and Phillip Seymour Hoffman dying, god must be making a really good movie. I found it funny and while it was joking about his death, it wasn't insulting it.

    Then you have stuff like Gilbert Gottfried who made jokes of the Japanese Tsunami like "I just broke up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, They'll be another floating by any minute now". I don't know too many people that would make feel better about the situation.

    I wouldn't make a joke about 9/11 to my buddy who lost his firefighter brother, but I might tell my black friends to not wear hoodies after something like the Tavon Martin incident.

    I make fun of myself if I ever am in doubt.

  2. #12
    Senior Vae's Avatar
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    I laugh at a lot of horrible shit that I probably should not (even when they're not jokes), so I don't think a whole lot of things are off limits.

    I do, however, think very specific jokes that point to individual tragedy are crossing a pretty big line. (Joking about rape, versus joking about a specific victim's actual rape, for instance.)
    And that one needs to be mindful of their audience, as most others have said. Joking about the tragedies of 9/11 is not going to go down very well if you're doing it for a group of survivors from that incident, or etc.
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  3. #13
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    I always thought the key to telling jokes was delivery and a basic sense of tact. If you lack the ability to tell if your audience (be it your friends or a room of people in a club) will find it cruel or hysterical, then it's probably best if you keep it to yourself. As far as my friends go, nothing is off limits. We're downright relentless with each other and dark humor is the way our group works, but that doesn't mean I go into the local grocery store and start telling those people I don't know the same jokes.

    Common sense and some tact go a long way.

  4. #14
    Solifugid Onnes's Avatar
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    I usually take the position that the limit of humor is the point at which no one is laughing. Maybe it's because my family has always been the type to laugh in the face of tragedy, but to say something is absolutely off-limits to humor is to put it beyond the event horizon of human experience, to render it an alien and unspeakable horror to which humanity is lost.

    Perhaps to be more concrete, one of the oldest and most enduring forms of comedy (in the modern sense) comes in the form of political satire. Yet there is little more serious than politics, as the effects of policy are obviously real and unavoidable. This type of comedy is almost universally tolerated because people realize that good satire sheds light and awareness upon the political process, whereas bad satire is bad satire and is thus largely ignored. I think this point generalizes: good comedy is self-aware, even if subtly, and reflects knowledge of its subject matter to the audience. The associated point is that one cannot assume levity as ignorance or disrespect; just because something is serious does not mean that all mentions of it must necessarily be serious, and being serious all the time is incredibly boring.

  5. #15
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    To some extent, laughter is a coping mechanism for tragedy. For instance, I attribute the success of The Daily Show to not only being no less informative than traditional news programming, but also packaging that content in a way that makes you laugh at it when you would otherwise want to throw your hands in the air and say fuck everything.
         
       
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  6. #16
    Senior Gamedog's Avatar
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    I don't think joking about traumatic events is okay.

  7.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #17
    Retired Staff Tiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamedog View Post
    I don't think joking about traumatic events is okay.
    I agree. I think there is a limit to humor, especially as someone who recently has gone through an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I don't think jokes about things like my experience/people who share one like mine are tasteful, tactful, or funny nor are jokes about rape or PTSD or just traumatic events in general as Gamedog said. Idk, maybe it's different for me as someone who's experienced something like this but I do think there are some topics that just aren't something to make fun of/be entertained by.
    Last edited by Tiger; 08-13-2014 at 01:11 PM.

  8. #18
    Wow, there's been a lot of thoughtful posts on this subject. So I'll do a thoughtless one.

    "I'm old. Not desperate. Besides anything with more than four legs is just plain creepy."

    Just poking fun at the fandom. : )

    There's nothing more satisfying than making people laugh. Nothing worst than hearing a barrage of insults. Even if the speaker is trying to be funny.

  9. #19
    Not that I necessarily agree with the below quote full-stop, but I think it's a good reference point for jokes. In comedy, timing is everything, and knowing who your audience is and what they like counts for a hell of a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harmon
    Of course there should be limits to comedy! There should be - and are - limits to everything in the world, comedy included.

    If jumping wasn’t limited by gravity, people would fly into space and die. If life wasn’t limited by disease and death, our parents wouldn’t have met, because Atilla the Hun would be president, which would have been distracting.

    And if everybody was able to be funny any time they wanted, laughing would be like breathing, and jokes wouldn’t be remarkable. If there were no limits on comedy, there would be no comedy, because comedy is essentially something done wrong. You’re not supposed to throw a pie at someone’s face. Pies are for eating, faces are for scowling. A person is supposed to knock on your door with their hand, they’re not supposed to say “knock knock,” and if they do, when you ask who’s there, they should have a name like Mark Johnson, not a long ass sentence. And nobody that owns a baseball team with a guy on first named “Who” should be unprepared for the question “Who’s on first.” They should call him by his first name or call him “Mister Who.”

    They should. Technically speaking. There should certainly be limits to comedy.

    Because, technically speaking, nothing funny should ever happen.

  10. #20
    Senior Gamedog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    I agree. I think there is a limit to humor, especially as someone who recently has gone through an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I don't think jokes about things like my experience/people who share one like mine are tasteful, tactful, or funny nor are jokes about rape or PTSD or just traumatic events in general as Gamedog said. Idk, maybe it's different for me as someone who's experienced something like this but I do think there are some topics that just aren't something to make fun of/be entertained by.
    Yeah. I don't like jokes like 9/11 and shit, and I know that some rape victims joke about rape to cope with it but eh, it's not for everyone.

 

 

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