How open-minded are you when it comes to jokes? How far does your sense of humour go? Do you believe there are things people shouldn't joke about? Are there any topics you think should be avoided when it comes to jokes? What are those topics (if any) for you?

Tags: humour, jokes, taboo

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I write comedy for a living, and from my experience, as well as from numerous conversations with well respected stand ups, i have come to the conclusion that nothing is off limits, as long as it's funny. I have a joke about fucking my dead mom's ashes. It's one of my favorite jokes. Anything can be funny if you twist it long enough or hard enough. Perfect example: I was at the diner with my cousin, his girlfriend, and my girlfriend a couple of weeks ago. I spilled my water, not too much, but enough that I needed a napkin. The waiter brings over a HUGE stack of napkins and plops them on the table, seriously, way too many for the job. Without skipping a beat I say, "What the hell? I'm not Japan." It killed. I had jokes about Haiti when it happened, Darfur, Racist beatings etc. you get the point.


More often than not, when there's been an uproar over a joke, it's been because it wasn't funny. Calling the Rutgers basketball team "nappy headed ho's" isn't a joke, it's a personal attack. A routine I got angry at was a Black people/White people joke a guy did about 9/11. The format, for those who are not aware, is to make black people sound really chill and laid back and cool, while white people are freaking out, stressed and uptight. It's hack and been overdone among Black comedians like Airplane Food, airport security, Tiger Woods jokes etc... My issue with it was that it was hack, and not funny, and most of all not true. Everyone was freaking out during 9/11, and reaching for support amongst each other. It wasn't a black people, white people thing. 9/11 can be funny. I have a bit about it myself (although it's more about how people treat/exploit it than the event itself). 


That being said, even for the unfunny attempts, the attempt at humor should never be censored (or self-censored for that matter). You really never know what will be funny until you try it on stage or say it out loud. People choose to be offended, and they will continue to choose that way. Anything can be funny. It just takes a skilled comedian to turn it on its head enough.

I like jokes that are funny. I think if something is coming from a place of steep ignorance, like a racist white guy making a joke about African-Americans, it *won't* be funny--good jokes need truth, and that kind of stuff is based on stupid nonsense. A funny joke also needs some finesse--extreme gross humor, I don't find funny, because it's like clumsily bludgeoning the subject with a log rather than slicing through with a scalpel.

So, I don't think topics are as important as treatment of the material, I guess.

My best friend is black. Incidently, he is also the second most stereotypical Swede I know. When we go out, I ask him to smile when I take a picture so he won't get lost in the background. In a blizzard earlier this year I thanked him for walking me home after a bar round because noone would find my goddamned white ass freezing to death if I got lost. Mostly, I make fun of him for being a Swede.

He makes white jokes about me/us such as: I'm gonna go dance, you go order some drinks. If you get a kid with a white chick you'r gonna have piglets. If I lose my job, I can freeride on white guilt the rest of my life. I don't need good grades, I'm filling your quotas anyway.


Tragedy makes the best comedy.
Thing about comedians is we're like trains. If you don't like a comic, just wait, another one will come in five minutes. Andrew Dice Clay actually paved the way for alternative, more head-y comedy with his nursery rhymes routines. Even if you didn't like him (I didn't much like him either), he probably made it easier for comics you do like to try stuff off the beaten path.



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