Spotting the Funny and Surviving Offense

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (HBO) Cable TV Special. RIP to this comic legend

Maloma, it shows you do not consider me when coming across chemical engineering job posts,” a homeboy said to me. He long ago dropped out of high school.

There are a number of issues which turn his statement into deliberate humour:

  • He doesn’t have an engineering qualification or any other tertiary qualification.
  • He knows I know nothing about no chemical engineering jobs.

He says all this to humour by making use of irony and sarcasm. The irony is he does not have a degree. The sarcasm is directed at himself, and me:

  • At himself is he does not have a job. He needs a job, a good job, but doesn’t have the qualification to warrant the kind of job.
  • Against me is that I am not looking out for a homeboy
  • And to compensate, for the time being, knowing he is unemployed I should buy him beer.

This is genius comedy.

To get a joke, only familiarity with the story being used to humour is needed, and you do not need to agree with it. Add-ons do not need to be entirely truth or fact.

The fact is my homeboy does not have a matric (high school diploma) but he puts out a statement which supposes he does – as banter.

It is easy to laugh when the joke is on others. When it is on us – others more – we get offended and upset.

“Those easily offended should be offended more often” Unknown, it seems.

A few good jokes were going around on Social Media during the countrywide university #feesmustfall strike, i.e. students were protesting against high varsity fees and exorbitant increases.

One of the jokes was ‘how do Unisa students protest’ since it is a distant learning institution. ‘Do they protest through the mail like they submit assignments?’ The protesting universities were only full time study institutions at the point.

Some students were offended I am sure. Unisa did join the movement. But for a joke, it does not matter if it is true or not. Just one spark of fact is needed in the makeup. The other stuff could be made up.

Q: Why are men’s feet on average longer than women’s?

A: So they can stand further from responsibility.

Funny neh!

Here is another.

Q: Why are women’s feet so short?

A: So they can stand closer to the sink.

Some might think this joke is chauvinist. Well, I hope starting with the men’s feet joke made it less offending. Not to say others won’t be offended still.

Some might say “what joke?”

Comedy takes on any position you might hold.

I am no chauvinist but I find the ‘sink’ joke funny – I know of the unfairness of chauvinism and am against it. I also find the ‘responsibility’ joke funny – I know of men’s sometimes or most times irresponsibility and am against it.

Comedy is an organic exposé for hypocrisy. For instance if I were for chauvinism, still I would not want it for my sisters.

You won’t be amused when a chauvinist is hitting chauvinist jokes, but you might laugh. It is another topic what causes people to laugh. Laughing and being amused are different at times.

One good thing about humanity is we are more amused at a person’s jokes when you know they are good people.

Here is a bite at chauvinists: “chauvinistic men are also taxed 50% of their personal tax. Billions in government spending go towards the development of women.”

Here is a bite at taxes: “chauvinistic churches are also exempt from taxes”

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I am an entrepreneur. A lady friend was telling me she doesn’t have lunch money. I told her she should stop dating entrepreneurs; those guys tend to struggle at few points in life. Her boyfriend is an entrepreneur.

There are so many types of jokes on the net: racist, chauvinistic, pro-religion, atheist, and many other types.

I always I say I am not prepared to heal until I am prepared to make or take jokes about my life and misfortunes.

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Here are some jokes by Don Rickles (a white man), at the roast of one of the funniest comedians to have lived, the late Redd Foxx (a black man).

 “And now Isabel Sanford [a black woman]. What a night to have her on the dance. Isabel good to see you. When you get a minute rinse the cups.”

“I have seen a lot of black guys Nipsey [Nipsey Rusell, a black guy] but you are overdoing it.”

Ohh, Don Rickles is no more. He passed away in April this year. May his soul rest in peace!

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Spotting the funny in a cause or believe you are for, does not insult or diminish it. Another measure is the well-standing character of the person making the joke.

I use comedy to measure my hypocrisy. If a joke exposes a tint of hypocrisy in something I believe in, then after I still believe in it, then I believe in it and go on believing it – but laughing at it sometimes.

We are all hypocrites at something. It is better to know at what.

Shake a tree branch:

  • An entrepreneur pops out
  • An author pops out
  • A stylist pops out
  • A social media specialist pops out
  • A blogger pops out
  • An ‘it’ girl pops out
  • A woman who knows what she wants pops out
  • A person with haters pops out
  • A business coach pops out
  • A dressed for success gentlemen pops out

I have definitely been a terrible entrepreneur and writer. I am willing to stick it out.

Like the late Richard Pryor said “I believe in the institution of marriage, and I intend to keep trying until I get it right.” He was married 7 times to 5 different women. He definitely believed in marriage and love.