“All jokes are grievances” claimed the media guru Marshall McLuhan… or, if I dare improve on the Master’s kernel of wisdom, “Good jokes are grievances.”
A sobering thought to begin a post on humour… but to prove my point that ROTFL kind-of-jokes are really thinly-veiled gripes against perceived wrongs, I did a quick Google search and came up with a handful of “best” gags, jests and jokes as voted by master comedians. To persuade you (and ruin your fun) I labelled them carefully according to the stereotype/prejudice that they imply:
“Happy White People’s Independence Day. The slaves weren’t free, but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.” — Chris Rock on July 4, US Independence Day
“When a woman doesn’t wanna get married, she’s a weirdo. When a man doesn’t wanna get married, he’s George Clooney.” — Sarah Silverman
… And another one… (I am a feminist after all)
“I was watching ‘Annie Hall’ on TV, and my girlfriend came home and started complaining about her office drama. She asked me, ‘Are you tuning me out for ‘Annie Hall?’ I said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. Was your story nominated for seven Academy Awards?’ ” — Sam Morril
“Funny how if I have breakfast in bed I’m ‘romantic,’ but if I also have lunch and dinner in there, I’m ‘suffering from crippling depression.’ ” — Matt Donaher
Mental health stigma
“I don’t think old people are any more racist than the rest of us. I just think they think they’re still whispering.” — Josh Gondelman
And last but not least…
“Working in politics for 10 years has taught me one thing: Together, we can do amazing things. But we won’t.” — Jeff Maurer
I’m sure you can all figure that one out!
So the moral of the story?
Next time you hear a joke, think before you ROTFL.
For maybe—just maybe—the joke’s spirit might be more “unsettling” than humouring.
And next time you crack a joke, use your words wisely:
For humour/satire/cynicism can unveil injustice… or disseminate it.
And lest you’re really mad at me for seriously ruining your day…
Really… no one ever warned you that moralists (and Catholics!!!) have no sense of humour??
Just kidding! 😉