I was thinking today about the phrase “That’s not funny” and how it needs some sort of companion. In typical conversation, I find it to be used to show offense to often hilarious comments. When used to denote something that really isn’t funny – a bad joke impossible to laugh at ironically, or The Great Gatsby – people get annoyed. “No, no,” I might add. “It just is devoid of humor. I’m not offended.” What can one say?
Although, sometimes people make “jokes” that are what I would describe as “anti-funny.” This means I am offended that anyone would find this humorous. Like when people call it “Taco Hell.” We get it! It ryhmes! Why do you want to go there if you are calling it that? Not really the point.
The Point: What do you way when something isn’t funny? I feel cruel telling the person “That’s stupid.” I can’t stand the awkward silence of everyone standing around not laughing. “Nice try” won’t work either. I don’t want to encourage the poor person.
Some people are okay with it. I worked with a very funny guy who nevertheless had some clunkers. He had an odds theory; at least one out ten of his jokes would be funny. So he’d just go until he hit one. By being told what wasn’t funny, I feel he managed to work it down to one out of five. That’s good odds for casual conversation.
There is something that speaks about our society when we are often too polite to tell that one person out of a hundred they aren’t funny. You’ve met them. The person with no delivery sense of humor. They laugh and they know what is funny when they hear it, but they are incapable of crafting their own hilarious joke. Even worse are the poor people with no humor at all. Oh, I mourn for them. They laugh when everyone else does because they think they’re supposed to. Those poor kids who never made the connections that fart noises = comedy gold.
Mathematically, if the decibel level of a fart is greater than x, x being the snootiness of the group you’re with, then the gold you’re trying to find is expressed as Fx=G. That’s math!
This was actually a post about the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy and how little I cared. I think me forgetting to mention that illustrates my point.