It's funny when jokes are not

Can you tell jokes with a straight face? I think the ability to do so makes the joke funnier for the listener. But not all jokes are funny. Here are 3 categories that are not funny at all:

Insensitive Jokes
People might accidentally tell a joke that is not suitable for one of the listeners, e.g. racist jokes, jokes about infidelity. Reactions from listeners would be:
- to scold the joke-teller,
- to keep quiet and try not to laugh no matter how funny the joke is,
- the person who is offended will walk off or something,
- the person who is supposed to be offended will laugh at the joke too.

Dirty Jokes
Some guys tell dirty jokes in inappropriate situations, e.g. a middle-age man telling dirty jokes to his young nieces, or an interviewee sharing a dirty joke with the interviewer (well, but it depends what job he's apply for). Some co-workers might regard dirty jokes as a form of sexual harassment. Whenever anyone tells the guy off, he will says he only meant it as a joke and tells others not to be so sensitive. It is difficult to stop such behavior.

Unfunny Jokes
The weirdest type of joke-teller is one who tells the story, then suddenly he laughs and the listeners realise then that that was the joke. The joke wasn't funny at all. In such case, listeners either:
- pretend to laugh,
- ask what the joke was exactly,
- keep quiet,
- say something sarcastic or give out an intentionally fake laughter.
With my sisters, we always laugh after an unfunny joke is told. But we're not laughing at the joke; we're laughing at the person: the joke's on you!

Don't go overboard on April Fools' Day.


Rock Hard said...

Oh yes, I love those moment when some clown who thinks he is funny tells a joke, and expect everyone to laugh. Which he failed to do so, and there was silent, and bemused look on each of the following listener. I bet everyone can hear crickets sound in the background. That's when I will laugh at that very very uncomfortable moment share by the clown and the listener.

David said...


You are spot on with this post.

Humor can be double edged.

When used to hurt, make fun of another or simply done in bad taste humor really ceases being funny.

I am in complete agreement with you!


Yu-Kym said...

Rock Hard, I don't think you would want to hang around those clowns? Do you think those are usually people with no/low EQ?

David, did you watch "The Office"? I watched the British version. The boss in the show is like that. He thinks his jokes are funny but nobody else thinks so.