To me, nothing is funnier than a punchline you didn’t see coming. Something original, something new, something fresh. I love telling that joke that nobody else has heard before, the shock on their faces when they hear it, the laughter… it’s intoxicating!
It used to be easy, back a decade or so. You could tell a good joke on a weekly basis. Then about five years ago, about half of the group you were telling the joke to would say “Hah, yeah, I got that in my email,” and you’d smile, only partially disappointed. Hey, at least half the group got some enjoyment, and even the half who knew the joke got a good chuckle revisiting it.
These days, someone sees something funny, “likes” it, shares it, tweets it, blogs it, emails it, stumbles it, tumbls it, picturegrams, instagrams, blahblahblah… and everyone knows it before me. The world is so inundated with this stuff that even when I do see something that would have stabbed me in the funny, I’m just so desensitized that I barely chuckle anymore.
Everything is the same now. Take shocking / unexpected quote, and substitute the latest trend, post it on that cheese burger site, get a zillion hits, rinse repeat.
I never in a million years, would have thought I’d be saying this, and I’m sure in some parallel universe where the internet never happened, some version of me is about to break out in tears, but I’m tired of bacon. Not eating it mind you, but the magical quality of bacon is just gone for me. Everyone on the internet is just plain hysterical because they talk about bacon. This is a running joke that if I see a blog post about bacon, or a joke or “poem” about bacon, I immediately lose a percentage of enjoyment, somewhere greater than 60%.
Ten years ago, I would have found the poem “Roses are red, bacon is red, poems are hard. Bacon” absolutely hysterical. I’d have written it on a white Hanes T-shirt in black sharpie and worn it three days a week, and people would have loved it. Now? I wanna slap the person who tweets it for wasting my time.
Jersey Shore. I saw a picture today that showed books falling off the end of a shelf, with the caption “A book commits suicide every time you watch Jersey Shore.” Very clever. Can we stop giving stupid shit we all hate MORE publicity please? Yeah, you’re trashing the show, good for you. You and everyone else on earth. I’d like to pretend that level of dumbassery doesn’t exist, but every time I try, something is shoved in my face to remind me that it’s there.
The internet is killing humor in almost every way. The only thing left is that which we can improvise, I think. You can no longer make someone laugh (or I should say, I find very little to laugh at) without some kind of live context. You gotta be able to process something that’s just been said, or just happened, and turn a phrase or an action, come up with a punch line or something like that, cause nobody is expecting it, and it’s gotta be good… AND you are working on the assumption that everyone else around you is on the same page. There’s always some space cadet who’ll say “Huh? Oh, I missed it.”
Funny is hard now! It’s a pain in the ass! You gotta be on guard all the time, ready for something that you can use, and be ready to use it. I can’t count the times when something’s happened, and I wasn’t ready, and I stand there groping for something clever only to come up empty.
Another thing that’s relatively safe is jokes about your own flaws, cause when someone says it about themselves, it’s considered safe ground. When someone says it about someone else, it’s just plain mean and that’s only funny to most guys… You’re bound to offend someone going that route. But it’s so safe, it’s almost not funny to me anymore as well. I used to love John Pinnette, and really, I still kinda do, but most of the time he cracks a fat joke, and I totally saw it coming. “Yep, let’s talk about lunch… Oh, a bacon joke. How clever.”
How about you, has the internet killed funny for you too? Do you find yourself rolling your eyes at jokes you’ve heard a skillion times now because of Facebook or Twitter or email?