Some comics are beginning to crack the taboo door open a bit trying out some Colorado movie theater shooting jokes in their routines. Dane Cook has made the news by being one of the first to try out a joke about the tragic event in his routine at the Laugh Factory.
Cook joked that, “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is such a bad movie that if none of that would have happened, I’m pretty sure that in that theater, 25 minutes in, realizing it was a piece of crap, was probably like, “Ugh, fucking shoot me”.
The joke drew a mixed reaction, with many no doubt thinking that it is is too soon, if ever to joke about such a tragic event. Yet, it seems healthy for the emotional pain that the public is suffering to find “gallows humor” in deeply tragic events. It appears to be part of the healing process to laugh at something that isn’t funny as a way of soothing the deep emotional suffering that frustrating tragic events cause the public.
Part of the shtick of some comics is tell shock humor jokes way too soon, such as Gilbert Gottfried often has done. However, his jokes about the tsunami that hit Japan really backfired and lost him a lucrative advertising campaign job with Geico for example. Shock humor will make a comic seem edgy and ground breaking, but sometimes comes at a cost because different people deal with grief differently. Yet, people often forget that any memorial service for a deceased person often includes some funny stories about the person. It’s first attempt to find some humor among the survivors to help deal with the tragedy.
This past week, a PLAYBOY Playmate was condemned for a Colorado shooting joke. Yet, it likely wasn’t meant to be insensitive as much as her own personal way of coping with the tragic events. Sometimes. it’s deeply therapeutic to step back and laugh at very serious things.
My own comic shtick is tell jokes about tragic events way too soon, because I personally find some events so tragic that the only way I can deal with them personally is to find some way to laugh. That being said, here’s ….
I hear the new Batman film is 245 minutes long. Does that include the shooting intermission?
When the movie screen says “15 Minute Shooting Intermission”, I’m buying Raisinets. I don’t even like Raisinets, but I’m buying them.
I’m asking my friend to hold my seat when I’m in the lobby. I don’t want some paramedic taking my good seat.
Funny or not, shock humor jokes about tragic events are far more therapeutic than many realize. They break the ice of emotional pain over events that you feel powerless to change, giving your emotions some control to deal with the tragic news.
You might even feel powerless in the situation of the death of a beloved pet for example, yet the funny thought of a fictitious newspaper headline, “Flea Tycoon Dead At 15”, could help to deal with loss somewhat.
The powerlessness of a tragedy sometimes means that you need an emotional break to deal with all the sorrow. The public is deeply sad about the Colorado shooting right now, as well as powerless to deal with the tragedy. Even a moment to laugh at an unfunny tragedy provides a much needed emotional break from an otherwise unbroken chain of sorrow.
Dane Cook and other comics who are breaking this ice are part of this public healing process. Dane Cook may not be the first man to set foot on the Moon. But, he’s taken a giant step to heal mankind from this tragedy.