On the state of humor

Editor’s column

October 5, 2015

I like humor. I like to laugh at something really funny.  I used to think PJ O’Rourke was funny. Occasionally he is. The crisis in the humor business is that the politicians have stolen all the jokes.  It’s not that they tell funny jokes; it’s that they are such jokes it is impossible to portray them as funny.  It’s like trying to tell a joke about a clown. In the end, it’s pathetic. 

Take that Trump chap.  He’s always been something of a clown. The media likes a clown.  But overexposed, he ceases to be funny or of interest.  Just pathetic.  One can visualize him in a wheelchair chasing after a fellow retiree at the home for retired clowns saying, “I’ve got a new one, you’ll love it.”  And the retired clown thinking “who let him in here?” 

One would think America’s love affair with guns would be ripe material for humor.  Pictures of six year-olds with braids toting a six-shooter – really.   The Children’s Defense Fund says in 2010, 15,576 children and teenagers were injured by firearms — three times more than the number of U.S. soldiers injured in the war in Afghanistan.

Guns still kill twice as many children and young people as cancer, five times as many as heart disease and 15 times more than infection, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

So, the joke is that Congress thinks the NRA is better than children.  Children don’t vote (especially dead ones), they don’t pay Congressmen, and they don’t have much of a mailing list. So they loose. The NRA has all those and it wins.  The joke is that the gun-crazy loonies think they own guns to keep the government from seizing them.  But it isn’t funny.  

One can imagine a gun story.  A guy walks into a gun shop…  and asks.. it’s just not funny. No way is it going to be funny. 

Neither are Greek jokes.  Not after what they’ve been through.  Having been recently in Poland, I can’t laugh at Polish jokes either.  Muslim jokes are lethal. Or, they provoke an international crisis.   

Like I said.  The humor business is in crisis.