View Full Version : Comedy vs. Tragedy

Golden Eel
07-20-2012, 10:16 PM
So I've seen a lot of people making jokes about the recent shooting in Colorado, and I've seen a lot of other people mentioning that it's too early to make jokes and that those who do are insensitive. I've even talked to people who made (what I'd consider arbitrary) distinctions about jokes in the midst of tragedy by implying that well thought-out satire is acceptable, while tired bad Facebook jokes are not.

What do you think? Is it ever too early to joke about something dark? Is it okay to joke about something dark, period? Is a person cruel and insensitive for making a joke about a tragedy? Does comedy help people cope with tragedy? Let's hear it.

07-21-2012, 01:08 AM
I guess it depends on how the subject of the humor is directed. I think with humor at the expense of the guy who committed the crime, it can be a way for people to further villainize the suspect and probably makes people feel better since it was his actions that have caused people to feel hurt/loss. Not that it promotes healing, but people typically have a revenge factor that if someone hurts you, you want to hurt them back. It may not always be in good taste, but I can at least understand why.

Jokes more directed at the people who suffered/died, I think that really has no place and there would never really be an appropriate time for it. With cases of tragedy like the Batman shooting, I think humor can be a form of healing if it's used to address our lack of understanding, or anger with the killer - or even just gun situations as a whole but anything really at the expense of those who died is not something I'd care to understand.

Not Mechanical
07-21-2012, 04:44 PM
Jimmy Carr quite nicely says that a sense of humour is like a sexual preference, it's an important part of who you are, but you have no control over it. I don't know exactly why, but there's no limit to what I find funny, and I don't think there should be a limit to what a comedian can say.

I'm really interested in comedy and humour and the way it all works, and there's a lot I could say about this, but for now I just want to leave this video here. British comedian Bob Monkhouse says something great that for me covers this whole debate about taboo subjects, and I don't think it matters if you like his work, or if you even like the joke he tells, but the way he thinks about it has to be admired.


07-21-2012, 05:11 PM
I think it's understandable to cope with your own tragedy through looking at it in a more comedic way, and in that sense comedy does help people get through tragedy. But when you make fun of other people and what they've gone through- unless you can empathize with them, it comes off as insensitive and narrow-minded. Whether it be well-thought out satire or stupid Facebook jokes, it's unnecessary. It does depend on the severity of the situation though. Many people have different views on what makes something tragic, and that makes it hard to separate the real distress that affects someone's life forever and the moments that seem tragic for a person at the time but really aren't. Maybe comedy could be used to show the latter that their situation isn't that uncommon; that life isn't so serious.

That doesn't mean I'm personally offended by it, but I can understand why some people (the target audience) would be. I try to avoid making those kind of jokes, keeping in mind that I don't understand what they're going through and the people who find those jokes funny don't either.

07-22-2012, 12:38 PM
As long as it's funny. Joking solely for the sake of being "edgy" is pretty lame IMO.

My natural reaction to most things in life is to find some degree of levity in a situation. I tend to make people uncomfortable with my lack of propriety and scruples, can't really help it.

Not Mechanical
07-23-2012, 05:29 AM
I agree with what Llama said, which reminds me of something Seinfeld said on the HBO special Talking Funny, that it's not about whether you should joke about something, but whether you can joke about it.
If you can craft a good joke, then why not?

Some jokes work for helping people cope and providing relief, but what a lot of people seem to forget is that jokes, by definition, aren't serious. All comedians do is think of surprising ways to end a sentence. A joke isn't usually about the thing that it's about, it's about the way it's crafted and the little 'journey' it takes you on, whether that be a bit of wordplay, a garden path sentence, or whatever.

07-23-2012, 08:24 AM
I think the most important thing that I don't think has been mentioned is present company. The difference between talking amongst friends and people that you haven't met is probably the most critical thing to take into account as you can never be sure as to what people have gone through and also you are at risk of coming across as one of those before mentioned dicks who say things to be 'edgy'.

In all honesty, I'm actually quite guilty of this. There is a big drinking culture in Melbourne which I often indulge myself in and I've been pulled up for being an asshole and cracking a few terrible jokes.

07-23-2012, 08:53 AM
Nothing is sacred

Not Mechanical
07-24-2012, 08:23 AM
Tonight I'm excited to be seeing one of my favourite comedians, Frankie Boyle, live. I wouldn't expect anyone outside of the UK to know who he was, but he's quite well known here for some controversial jokes, so much so that a venue not far from me refused to let him perform there.
He does have a pretty brutal, no-holds-barred kind of style that may not be for everyone, but the show I'm going to is sold out and an extra date added, so there's obviously high-demand for tickets, so do you guys think it's right to not let a comedian perform because he tells some offensive jokes?

Also curious to know what MMT thinks of this subject, seen as he kind of set this up then fucked off.

Dirge Inferno
07-24-2012, 09:31 AM
I said on YouTube that it was the joker, and received a bunch of badly made PMs and comments. The majority of them had badly spelled insults and extremely poor grammar, just goes to show you how dumb humanity is getting. Someone actually said to me that I made them cry, I lost it at that point -- too hilarious.

Golden Eel
07-25-2012, 07:31 AM
Also curious to know what MMT thinks of this subject, seen as he kind of set this up then fucked off.

I pretty much agree with ThreeEyedGod.

I don't think it's ever do soon and I don't think anything should be exempt from ridicule. It's like that recent Daniel Tosh controversy. There are funny rape jokes, it's as simple as that. Does laughing at a rape joke mean you find rape funny? Of course not. But there are so many more important things to worry about than hurting someone's feelings.

Also, I was reminded of this:

"Rape jokes are the safest jokes to make. Really, who are you going to offend? Rape victims? What are they gonna do about it? They don't even report rape." - Sarah Silverman

Ulysses Black
07-25-2012, 01:51 PM

07-25-2012, 05:24 PM
I think some of it is people just wanting to be outraged. Some people get offended because they think they're supposed to and that by being offended it somehow makes them a more caring person. And some people have a persecution complex.

I don't think anything should be exempt from being joked about. Everything has the possibility of being funny and sometimes the shock of someone saying something offensive is funny all by itself.

03-02-2014, 02:38 PM
"Comedy is just Tragedy plus time." -Carol Burnett