Monday, March 27, 2023

Joke Killers!

There is something wrong with people who try to unjoke a joke..

You've had this happen before, no doubt.  You heard a wry joke somewhere and want to amuse your friends, so you try to tell it to them.  But one of your friends is a joke-killer:

You:  I have a joke: knock-knock!

JK:  "Oh, this is one of those knock-knock type jokes, eh?  I'm supposed to say "who's there?" and then you say something that makes me feel foolish!  I get it!

You:  Just say, "who's there," asshole!

JK: OK, "who's there?"

You: Never fucking mind!

JK:  Not much of a joke!

It is the same with people who try to guess the punchline - confusing a riddle with a joke.  Or, worse, they know the punchline, and blurt it out loud, when you are with a group of people, most of whom have never heard the joke.  It ruins the comedic timing and the joke falls flat.

I don't try to tell jokes anymore as a result - it just isn't worth it.  My own husband was a joke-killer until I explained to him that in the world of jokes, it isn't a contest to see who wins.  And maybe that is the problem with jokes and comedy in general.  We go to see a standup comic and he makes us laugh, not at him, but often ourselves.  He uses deceptive or misdirecting language to set up a scenario that, by the time the punchline arrives, was not what we thought it would be.  He fooled us - took advantage of our good nature - and if we have a sense of humor, we laugh at how we were fooled.

He's killing us - that's the language comedians use, when they connect with an audience.

But some folks take offense to this form of mental rape, so to speak, and they try to derail the joke by interjecting with comments, guessing the punchline, or saying, "Oh, I heard this one before..." or some other form of heckling, which is what it really is.

Hecklers are an increasing problem for comedians, it seems.  You go to a comedy club to see a comic - and at smaller comedy clubs, these are up-and-coming comics, often a mixed bag.  And some drunk yahoo has to insert himself into the picture by making loud comments and just ruining the comedic timing and the comedy for everyone.   Maybe it is a result of the pandemic, or our increasing use of televisions in place of live performances, that cause people to talk-back to performers, try to rush the stage or otherwise make the event all about them.   Or they talk loudly during movies - which is no great loss for the current crop of comic-book (excuse, me, graphic novel) -based explosion movies.

No one wants to be an audience member anymore - we all want our 15-minutes of tick-tock fame.  And maybe this is the result of a slew of Tee-Vee shows that posit that anyone can become the next warbling, auto-tune, ballroom dancing, cake-baking, podcasting, multi-media star.  In fact, we are all entitled to it.  No one wants to sit back and be a passive listener, it seems, not even long enough for someone to tell a silly joke.

A good Dad make a good audience for a joke, even if poorly told.

So, what's the point?  Well, we are all joke-killers on occasion - I have to admit I have done it myself.  Fight the urge!  Resist the temptation!  Let the joke-teller tell the joke.

Then we can all have a good laugh.