When I talk about insults, I don’t mean the bog standard terms you have in your lexical repertoire to respond to stubbed toes and ex wives such as the “fuck you’s” or the “assholes”. I’m talking about witticisms. The carefully crafted, personalaised, almost poetic comment that leaves the victim stunned .
These beauties are a rarity however and even those that do exist are shunned, here is just one:
“Goldie’s autobiography is called “Nine Lives”, which is a stupid title for a man with a dog’s name.”- Frankie Boyle
Perhaps my favourite line of his. I think what is beautiful about it is that the joke lands perfectly without Boyle having to spice it up with a sware or two. I don’t have anything against the use of taboo language in jokes, in fact many of my favourite sets/bits simply wouldn’t work without them. What makes this joke is that it’s in two parts. Boyle could probably get a laugh out of just mentioning a similarity between their name and a dogs. But Boyle adds in the autobiography title to truly top it off. Notice the almost naive voice that the insult is phrased in “which is a stupid title for a man with a dog’s name” he obviously knows it’s not stupid and completely coincidental, however by putting it like this makes it funny as they can secretly have a laugh at Frankie Boyle for perceiving the situation like this. It is a technique used by many comics, often subconsciously.
Have a nice day.
I believe no subject is safe from humour. And in my belief no subject should be safe for that matter. Ok fine, a white man who has painted his face black, is striding around in a costume held together with leaves and shouting “I’m mr big bongo” is perhaps not alright, but that’s because not many people would find it funny, just immature. I can’t remember which comedian said the line”a joke is only offensive when it’s not funny”, but I live by it.
Soooo what makes a joke okay?
For me it’s all about context. For example if a skinny,whimpering, stuttering comic who displayed regular intervals of ignorance stated ” they say you have to call immigrants aliens now, does that mean Madeline Mckann was most likely abducted by aliens” that is funny because the comedian has approached the topic in a way where he didn’t seem like he was joking about a gay but more unfortunately stumbled across it and made some connection between the two subjects out of curiosity rather then for humour. If a muscular,tatooed skinhead repeated the joke and then laughed he would be seen as a bit of an asshole. The same subject is talked about but one is goofy and tolerable whilst the other just seems insensitive. I used the Madeline Mckann joke to show how dark humour can push the line, I would personally not use that joke because I feel it wouldn’t fit me as a person, the joke does however excersise my point of how a joke can be deemed offensive by one teller and not by another.
Comedy is an art form. And in my opinion, a sort of philosophy the comic adopts. It’s about talking about things that just aren’t usuallytalked about. It’s about laughing about our core principles. Stepping outside of the seriousness of life. Joking about our mortality and our complete powerlessness in this vast universe is what keeps us sane. It’s about thinking how nothing really matters. How could you take that away. By saying you can’t joke pabout death or terrorism gives those concepts extreme power over us. Comedy is one of the strongest comforting devices I have for when I fail, in the end whatever you do it’s ok because it’s funny.