A Conversation for Non-subjective Comedy
Greebo Started conversation Sep 1, 1999
"that does not require one to be canine-insensitive, or to even know what a dog (or a nose for that matter) is."
- Surely it is impossible for that joke to exist, because that would require the joke to contian no objects what so ever? Everyone when telling a joke, generally would have to assume that everyone knows, at least, what they name in the course of the joke is. It is more or less a requirement for the joke to be funny.
You aren't going to get a joke that runs like:
"Why did the unidentifiable and unnamed object cross the road?"
As it isn't funny and therefore not a joke (plus it assumes that you know what a road is).
The most basic child's joke assumes that you know at least two objects
"chicken" and "road" (same joke as above).
On a similar note, you also can't get a joke that only a very select amount of people will understand The following is completely made up as I have no knowledge of various cells, chemicals or their names)
*Scientist telling a joke to another*
"What did the heamogobularistic cell say to the graphticular virus?"
So after all my ramblings, what I'm trying to say is that no non-subjective joke can exist.
Greebo Posted Sep 1, 1999
ammendment to the last line, it reads
"can exist" which defeats the entire post
It shoulda read
django Posted Sep 1, 1999
On one level I agree with you. To tell a joke it must contain objects that both you and the jokes recipient understand and recognise to be the same. If either (Or both) of you haven't the faintest idea what a "wrangle rotary engine" is or why its so unusual to find one in a chicken coup, then the joke will not and can not work. To tell a joke basic assumptions have to be made based on common knowledge and experience.
However, to say it's impossible for this type of joke to exist is rather dangerous. You state that you can't have a joke that runs like:
"Why did the unidentifiable and unnamed object cross the road?"
Because it isn't funny (Therefore not a joke) and it assumes that you
know what a road is.
That is true, but if you're going to consider that the recipient has no inkling on the meaning of road, then you may as well assume that the recipient has no inkling over the meaning of the word "the"
or "object", "unnamed", "and", "unidentifiable", "did"
In fact, once you start doubting the joke recipients abilities to understand one word, then there is no reason to not doubt their understanding of every word you can present before them. If this is the case, then you are generally speaking the wrong language.
Hitler Stole My Potato Posted Sep 2, 1999
I think that perhaps a non-subjective joke can exist.
The whole "non-subjective" problem revolves around the fact that when one person laughs, another person is offended in some way. Also, it is assumed that not everyone can understand the same joke, and, therefore, even if a given person is not offended, there still lies the possibility that they may not understand the said joke.
I believe the only answer to this problem lies in physical damage to a completely fictional character.
Every human who has ever existed is amused when someone trips over their own feet and lands face first on the pavement. Oh, sure, many people would deny that and claim that the suffering of others is not amusing. But, deep down inside, everyone is amused, even if they don't laugh or show any outward signs of joy. Physical comedy is clearly the key to non-subjective humor.
Of course, this non-subjective joke relies on the fact that the fictional character is also not a member of any ethnic group, religion, or sex. Therefore, a joke must refer to the subject of humiliation as "person" or "people" (note: for the sake of this conversation, we will assume that the French are "people").
Of course, physical humor is best used with visual comedy (ie television). To solve the problem of offending various groups, the character, or "person," would have to be entirely neutral. Perhaps cloaked entirely in green (as to avoid any racial offenses), be of average body size, and have a voice that can be neither distiguised as male or female.
This all involves a great deal of work, however, so I think I'll just stick to good old offensive jokes, thank you.
Ironic Joke Posted Sep 2, 1999
Prehaps the only kind of humour which would be funny to everybody would be a joke that takes the mickey out of the joke teller, after all, the point to to tell a joke that is non offensive, and if the joke teller finds it non offensive, then its done its job.
e.g I have no nose. how do u smell? come closer and find out!
or maybe you could tell jokes which relied on nonsense
e.g. My dog has no nose. how does it smell? through his ear thanks to the miricle of modern surgey techniquies.
or.. you could tell it in a way that would satisfy the victim of the original joke.
e.g. woof woof woof woof woof. grruff.? woof!
personally, I find that if a person finds a joke offensive then they are the one with the problem. The whole point of a good joke is to say the most mind stimulating and possibly unsafe thing in a way that makes people see how silly or ironic a situation could become.
A racist joke is all about people being different - its true so why hide from the fact? a joke that insults a racial minority is firstly an insulting joke, then its a joke about race.
e.g my coloured minority friend has no nose? how does he smell? what do u think?!
So maybe the point should be that its not a non subjective joke that ur trying to find, but a way of catogorising jokes better!
My End Is Nigh Posted Sep 2, 1999
Needle Nyddle Noo.......
(Classic funny line from The Goons.)
Meaning : None.
Humour content : High
Conclussion: people who find it funny do so because they give it their own meaning.
People who dont find it funny, give it no meaning.
Ergo. A non-subjective joke.
O.Marie 95652 Posted Sep 29, 1999
Whether there is or is not a such thing as a non-subjective joke, really depends on how you define joke. Webster's has this to say (I am sure there are many more complete definitions, this is from a very short abridged version):
1) a short humourous anecdote, with a punchline
2) anything said or done to cause amusement
3) an object of laughter or ridicule
In the first and third of these definitions it would seem appearent that there can't be a joke that is non-subjective. However in the second there is refernce to things "done" to cause amusement. Pantomime, which contains no words, is incredibly funny when done right. In many ways it surpasses spoken comedy, yet does not require the use of a "subject" to be ridiculed or made fun of. A few weeks ago I watched a jester perform his act. My kids were watching too. Similar to the examples of people telling jokes in a foreign language, the jester performed sketches that depicted actions which the kids weren't familiar with (no nothing sexual, this was a family event), yet the kids were just as amused as I was. The facial expressions and exaggerated motions were more effective in creating the comedy than any stand up routine I have heard. A fall guy or base humor, though seriously funny at times, can't take the place of true talent and a heart for making people laugh.
Zach Garland Posted Oct 10, 1999
Earlier it was suggested that a joke in which the joketeller is made to be the brunt of the joke can avoid offending anyone. However, this is self-deprecating humor and some individuals who suffer from manic depression may take offense to its use.
We're not necessarily limited in scope to whether or not the audience would understand words like road or chicken, but whether or not they would be subjectively offended by the use of such objects and therefore not find them funny.
The quest for non-subjective humor continues..
EllieZang Posted Oct 11, 1999
Physical humour is funny to everyone who has ever experienced gravity. I would except cases of non-humanism, severe mental disabilities, and snobbery.
The blind may not be able to *see* a pratfall, but they could experience the humour nonetheless. If you were to hold out your hand to help this person up, and when they pulled your hand you broke wind and then giggled, I'm sure that they would be hard pressed to stifle their own laughter.
Don't go out and try this with blind people because I could be wrong.
Tmr Mwel Posted Feb 17, 2000
I just want to say that this sounds very reasonable and therefore I agree with you. Of course the language a joke is told in can be a reason why some people do not understand it. But assume that ,for some peculiar reason, everybody spoke the same language or at least understood what everybody else was saying. (This is getting into biblical dimensions here....) Still cultural, and other, differences would be in the way of everybody understanding the non-subjective joke. What we need here is an ideal world, and the question than is whether this world exists? And lo, of course it exists, and it is non other than the rather well known philosopher Plato that tells us about it. These platonic ideals would suggest a normative world, a world where people recognized the ideal truth ,and this would have to mean that people also recognized the ideal, and therefore non-subjective, humour.
To discover such a thing as non-subjective humor in the existing world of today, where people make up their minds relying more on trends and hearsay than the (ideal) truth, I think will be in the same difficulty level as finding the holy grail. (But some people do of course believe in the existence of such a grail, so why should humour be an exception?)
PoohToo Posted Mar 10, 2000
Do we really see humour in pratfalls? I sometimes wonder whether the laughter is more a function of relief, that the viewer was not involved.
I have had a thought about the role of the viewer / listener involved in a joke. If the humour found in pratfalls is a relief mechanism, then the viewer does not need to do any work. It is funny on a more instinctive level.
More abstract humour involves the listener more. Quite often we talk about "getting the joke". If we think about abstract humour as "the unexpected juxtaposition of two previously unrelated ideas", then the listener must work to resolve the juxtaposition. Sometimes we cannot, in which case it will seem like nonsense.
An aural non-subjective joke
Feral Korzybski Posted Mar 20, 2000
It looks like a lot of comments have been made about visual-non-subjective humor, but what about aural non-subjective humor? Most children are quick to discover the following joke: "pfffffffffft", which can be told by pursing one's lips and "buzzing" them against one's arm or palms. This joke is non-subjective, crosses nearly every language barrier (does anyone know of an ASL equivalent?), and fails to get a laugh only at very serious dinner parties. (It must, however, be admitted that there is a slightly funnier subjective version of this joke which can be told on an elevator).
Martin Harper Posted Jun 25, 2000
why would self-deprecating humour offend manic-depressives? They don't have a monopoly on self-deprectaion...
Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession Posted Jul 1, 2000
Non-subjective humor is humor which fails to offend everyone. The problem, then, is in defining "everyone."
By everyone, do we really mean most everyone? Or do we include that crazy old bag lady on 14th street in Chicago whose admittedly skewed interpretation of an otherwise non-subjective joke defeats the qualification? Are we only counting humans? Or does the green androgynous alien interpreting the slapstick joke discussed earlier by listening in to Earth's television signals make that example moot as well? Are we including people from the future who might be offended by the joke for reasons we can't possibly comprehend?
In the end, I would guess that there is no such thing as a 100% non-subjective joke. Life is ultimately a subjective experience, and therefore everything in it is as well. There are probably, however, many jokes that come so close to being 100% subjective that we can treat them as such for all intents and purposes. Like *pfffffffft*!
Emily 'Twa Bui' Ultramarine Posted Aug 1, 2000
Perhaps the pursuit of almost-non-subjective comedy would be more attainable. "Chicken crossing the road" jokes work on the basis that we all know what a chicken is and we all know what a road is. This would obviously go straight over the head of a person who has lived their entire life in the Amazon basin and has never seen either a chicken or a road. However, this is could be just the point; the joke need merely be adaptable to any situation, ie. "Why did the piranha cross the river?", and it is to a fashion non-subjective. Therefore perhaps the non-subjective joke is to a certain extent generic.
God - it's all so unfunny when it's deconstructed before you...
Lucius Juan Pierre O'Flanagan Posted Sep 20, 2000
Here is an example of a joke which I think could be considered non-subjective due to the adaptability of
its subject matter:
Person 1: "What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?"
Person 2: "I dunno, what?"
Person 1: "Hey, where's my tractor?"
As you can see, the humor in this is that the punchline is so obvious as to be overlooked by the "victim."
This joke, I think would work just as well with the following substitutions:
etc, and the list could go on forever.
Martin Harper Posted Sep 20, 2000
that's really a joke about jokes - limited times you can use that...
Two elephants walked off a cliff...
Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession Posted Sep 20, 2000
Even in this case, you are relying on the subject anticipating the punch line. What if you hit a culture that doesn't use punch lines as such? Maybe their humor consists mainly of puns, sarcasm, or slapstick comedy. What then?
Zarniwoop III Posted Oct 4, 2000
I am personlly finding the fact that people (would that include me?) are arguing wheather or not jokes are to be considered non-offensive to be a very humorous situation in itself. But while I'm on the subject matter, I cannot help but add my own oppenion. I feel that some people could possibly offended by jokes even as simple as *pffft* seeing as how they might find it very crude and unfunny. I think the closest thing to not offending anyone would be the why did the "unknow object" cross the "unknown object". For you see, even the joke containing the student/books, farmer/tractor, etc. could be offensive for the simple reason that one of these people may have recently lost one of these particular items. This makes the joke non-humourous to whoever is hearing it because
a. they think you are reffering to them
b. they may be devestated over the fact of having to replace it (especially if their broke)
and c. they may find dry humor offensive in which case you would be offending them with such a lame joke as that.
P.S. for anyone who actually took the time to read the above, please excuse the spelling and grammer errors
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Greebo (Sep 1, 1999)
- 2: Greebo (Sep 1, 1999)
- 3: django (Sep 1, 1999)
- 4: Hitler Stole My Potato (Sep 2, 1999)
- 5: Ironic Joke (Sep 2, 1999)
- 6: My End Is Nigh (Sep 2, 1999)
- 7: O.Marie 95652 (Sep 29, 1999)
- 8: Zach Garland (Oct 10, 1999)
- 9: EllieZang (Oct 11, 1999)
- 10: Tmr Mwel (Feb 17, 2000)
- 11: PoohToo (Mar 10, 2000)
- 12: Feral Korzybski (Mar 20, 2000)
- 13: Martin Harper (Jun 25, 2000)
- 14: Martin Harper (Jun 25, 2000)
- 15: Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession (Jul 1, 2000)
- 16: Emily 'Twa Bui' Ultramarine (Aug 1, 2000)
- 17: Lucius Juan Pierre O'Flanagan (Sep 20, 2000)
- 18: Martin Harper (Sep 20, 2000)
- 19: Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession (Sep 20, 2000)
- 20: Zarniwoop III (Oct 4, 2000)