By Haley Brezina
There’s a reason people become comedians: entertaining people and making them laugh takes more than an old knock knock joke.
Different things make us all laugh- and some people favor dark humor over any other.
Dark humor, as defined by Urban Dictionary, is humor that is viewed as dark, morbid, and cruel. To many, jokes seen as dark humor are offensive. These kind of jokes can be about race, religion, sexuality, and is the kind of humor that you don’t want to throw around in public.
With this in mind, I ask you- if you make racist jokes, are you racist? If you make homophobic jokes, are you homophobic? If you make offensive, intricate jokes about a certain group of people, are you a bigot?
While this is a pretty simple question in retrospect, there are a lot of different factors that come into play.
Shawn Kelly, a junior, admits to thinking dark humor is totally fine. “Dark humor is funny and it’s completely fine,” Kelly says, “They’re messed up jokes, so you shouldn’t just tell them out. But some dark humor helps people cope with pain”.
Shawn does agree that as long as you don’t truly mean what you’re joking about, and use it constantly, then it’s okay.
Kelly also thinks it is okay to make jokes about a group that you’re not affiliated with. For example, can you make jokes about black people if you aren’t black?
Kelly says, “Yes, as messed up as it sounds. If you can’t joke about certain topics, you don’t know humor.” Kelly’s idea is that if you don’t mean it, then it’s okay.
Ricardo Serna, a sophomore, has a similar point of view, “If I actually offended someone, I would apologize and tell them I was only joking. It’s what we find funny but it would be screwed up if we actually meant it.”
Serna offers a valid standpoint as well, “What makes it okay to let other people tell us what we should find funny or not?”
So, if you don’t mean it, does that make it okay?
Angie Godoy, a senior, has a contradicting view on this same question. “While being mean for laughs isn’t me, I’d never make jokes about people I don’t know squat about.” Godoy continues, “I make jokes about Latino culture because I know about it and it comes from a place of love”. Godoy firmly believes that if you make jokes that are offensive or racist, that it more likely than not comes from deep rooted racism.
“When you joke about something, you are normalizing it… making marginalized groups the butt of jokes only normalizes the abuse towards them. It dehumanizes people and makes them something to be laughed at.”
Lastly, Godoy makes one more powerful statement, “If I hear a joke about Latinas by someone who is supposed to be my friend I will always wonder- are they laughing at me?”
A single person’s kind of humor will not be pleasing to everyone- but a joke should never hurt somebody’s feelings.
What you do alone or with your friends may be different than how you act in public- but are you a bigot for even thinking like that? Does an offensive joke mean your morals aren’t in check?