Tragedy is Funny?

By Anupum Pant

Mark Twain said, “Humour is tragedy plus time.” Although I don’t consider most of them to be funny, people still make jokes about the holocaust, 9/11, world war and other such big tragedies, and they get a lot of attention. You could call them dark jokes. Ultimately, they do seem funny to more people, than not.

But, today that Harrison Ford has got hurt in a plane crash, it’s not the right time to make a pun out of it already.
So if some stand up comedian says “He shouldn’t fly at this age…solo.” Well, he’d be in for a big boo from the audience. As people say, it would be too soon to make a joke about it. So, what makes a tragedy old enough to start making puns out of it that’d get positive attention?

Science has probably has an explanation for this oxymoronic behaviour of people. [Here]

But estimate for the right time to strike such a dark joke comes from a study done by Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and Texas A&M University in 2012.

When the hurricane Sandy came along on October 29 causing mass destruction. During and after the tragedy, separate surveys were taken from groups of participants which asked them to answer how funny they found a tweet which looked like this.


It was found that the tweet grew funnier as days passed and seemed funniest at just after the 36th day. And it turns out, there was also a late point when the joke became not that funny again. That was 99 days later.

So, comedians, use science and know when to pun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *