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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Here Lies Sense of Humor RIP

Here Lies Sense of Humor RIP

For a while now, I have felt that people are losing their sense of humor.  I had nothing tangible to explain this feeling, but it is there.  In analyzing some of my posts it is becoming more and more clear.

People do not find humor where they used to find it.

I often publish re-runs of older posts.  I find it interesting to read the comments on a post from 4 or 5 years ago and then the current comments.

Things that I was told made people spit out their coffee laughing five years ago now have reactions which indicate the post is taken as serious, not as humor or satire.   

I fear we have been conditioned to worry about our reactions to opinions, or situations. Finding humor may not be acceptable to others.  People are so worried about what might be offensive to someone, that it affects how they view things themselves.

We are a nation (world) walking on egg shells. 

Casual observations or jokes are often taken literally and  the joker is rebuked unmercifully on social media.  There is no correcting social media opinions, they take on a life of their own, misinterpretations of your idea or opinion becomes carved in stone.

Words are changed, intonations are inferred and a simple joke or observation will brand you as any number of nasty “ist” identifications.

We are slowly learning it is better to say nothing, laugh at nothing, for fear of offending.  We walk on egg shells

I first noticed this phenomenon in myself while listening to the radio. 

I happen to be a fan of so called “Shock Jock” Howard Stern, who is not afraid to stomp on egg shells.  No topic is off limits to him and he happens to be very funny. 

I don’t find all his comments or opinions to be funny.  Occasionally his topics make me uncomfortable.  Sometimes I just change the station and come back when the subject has changed. 

The man spouts opinions, generally totally of the cuff, on many subjects for several hour a day.  Sooner or later he might offend you a bit.  What I realized is that I can only listen to Howard alone in the car.  If there is anyone else in the car, I can’t listen.  It is uncomfortable to laugh at something he says for fear the other person does not find his comments amusing.

I think this is becoming the dynamic in our lives today.  We are afraid of offending not just with our comments or opinions, but even in our reactions to other peoples comments or opinions.  We are becoming conditioned to ways of thinking that are acceptable and anything that diverts from that thinking, even if in jest, is offensive.

The list of acceptable topics for humor is being whittled down to the point where we are losing our sense of humor.

I am not offended by many things; brutality is never funny, but there can be humor in almost anything if done properly.

I do find the loss of our sense of humor to be offensive.   


  1. Omg. I am in complete agreement with you Joe. Often times I find myself telling people - to their face... It's okay to laugh, it's funny, it really is. I laugh at just about everything or poke fun in some way. If I didn't I'm sure I'd be on that tv show Snapped! People need to loosen up. Have a glass of wine or a martini or if they're in those legal Mary Jane states, smoke a fatty, man and just chill.

  2. A world without humor is a sad place indeed. The only humor i find never really offends anyone is the self-deprecating kind, with the person telling it as the butt of his/her own jokes. Now that i've said this, of course someone is going to be offended that it's okay to be self-deprecating.

  3. I agree. I was reading today about people taking offense at Mary Poppins because the chimney sweeps had chimney dust on their faces and were therefore black face.

    I don't know who the people are who get offended by things like that. I'm not in a position to say that people should not be offended. But man, it really seems like people go out of their way to be offended.

  4. I've spent a lifetime throttling myself, because some people can't wait to knock a teacher from her/his (unwanted, sometimes undeserved) pedestal. You have to know your crowd, and only let your hair down with birds of a feather.

  5. Val has said exactly what I am trying to write.

    Living in a PC world has tied humor up. Time to take a laxative, PC world.

  6. I agree with your final sentence 100%
    The beginning of all this was Political Correctness, which soon took over everywhere and had people thinking twice about what they might say or laugh at. It's a very sad situation, if I should dare to laugh at something I find funny, I'm often called insensitive by people around me. When I think back 40 years or more, to when migrants had jokes told about them and they took them in stride often laughing along with us, it was a better world. Newcomers assimilated more quickly when all were able to laugh together. Now fear of offending keeps people apart and afraid. We are no longer a nation, we are a country of pockets of separate nations all afraid of each other. The only people I know who still happily get on with everybody else are three year olds. They don't care where you came from or what you look like, as long as you will play with them.

  7. Good post and absolutely right! Even in the world of blogging people slay us if we say something with humour they don't agree with. I can't remember when it all went wrong but I wish we could return to the time when we could express ourselves without fear of upsetting people.

  8. I agree. Political correctness has restricted humour. In the UK most comedians on TV or the stage are just not funny at all and encourage their audiences to laugh by clapping and self-patting on the back.

    As you know, my Blog is mostly based on humour, and I am finding it increasingly difficult to make myself laugh. I have tried almost everything but I have lost the ability to laugh at my own jokes. Now is that funny or sad?

    God bless.

  9. I agree. It's interesting that comedians like Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld (both minorities themselves) won't perform at college campuses.

  10. This is so true and I have noticed a loss in myself.

  11. Everyone has an opinion about everything and their opinion is correct and everyone should see it their way. It's oppressive to say the least.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend, Joe. ☺

  12. It is a great loss that we no longer feel free to express our own sense of humor. On the other hand, I've never been known to be funny, and most of the jokes I tell I bungle. Haha, the joke is on me......

  13. I agree with messeymimi, self-deprecating is the safest kind of humor and one I use and appreciate. I mean, who would I offend? Just me and I have a thick skin.

  14. one needs to judge ones audience careflly before saying anything

  15. I am currently writing a post (not sure about publishing it) about the same thing. I used to write funny posts but in the last two years, they seem to have taken a more serious tone. Is it something in the water or does everything just suck.

  16. Could it be that our sense of humor is just evolving and we just need to get used to it?

    I remember telling/hearing a lot of Polish jokes when I was a kid. I wouldn't want to tell those now, and I probably wouldn't laugh at them if someone else told them. Not sure if that's necessarily a bad thing - different times, different standards. What would you say to a person who complained that nowadays on TV they show married couples in a queen-sized bed? What the heck was wrong with two twin-sized beds, like they did on "I love Lucy?" in the good old days?