DEAR MOST YOUNG PEOPLE:
THE FOLLOWING THINGS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED FUNNY ANYMORE AND SHOULD BE THEREFORE AVOIDED IF LAUGHTER IS AN AIM.
STUTTERING WITH LAUGHTER OF YOUR OWN AS YOU DELIVER THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS WILL NOT RESULT IN GREATER RECIPROCATION OF LAUGHTER AND SHOULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO.
BUILDING ON ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ATTEMPTED JOKES WITH ESCALATED ITERATIONS WILL NOT ENHANCE APPRECIATION OF THEM AND SHOULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO.
Scales from 1 to non-numerical nouns
E.g. How much did you drink last night?
On a scale from one to legally dead, I was…
While a scale from one to ten is a general and widely recognized enough rhetorical device that replacing the expected “ten” with a noun that is not at all like the number ten would seem to generate a rolling belly laugh, this joke has been around for over a decade and looks bad for its age.
E.g. No, no, it’s not rape, it’s surprise sex.
The funniness is supposed to come from how crazy it is to defend rape and the difference of spin you can put on a statement by using “surprise”—a generally positive word—in lieu of “forced.” Ignoring how ethically gross even joking about defending rape can be, it is also not fresh territory, and has a large body of work in which it’s done poorly. This is not doing it well. Stop.
e.g. So there will be a loop within this for-loop—
It’s worth noting that, as pointed out in an image macro some time ago, the word “Inception” in the 2010 Blockbuster refers to the act of implanting an idea into someone’s mind, not the dream within a dream concept, which is a somewhat minor (not very mind-bending) feature of the film. Often in this life we find things within similar things, but not each of them demands an Inception reference. This joke is obviously only as old as the film, but wore out its welcome pretty quickly. In fact, I’m glad the Nass cut a weird Oedipus article I wrote last year if only because I stooped to an Inception joke (I N C E S T P T I O N, as you’d imagine). I’ve stopped, you should too.
Pronouncing ‘America’ with one vowel or two
e.g. Aw yeah, Romney, he’s gonna talk about Amur’cuh!
No, no: ‘Mur’cuh!
This is probably the most universal of the bunch. It exists to make fun of people who see things in a narrow conservative way, but of course it takes a very narrow view of such people. Though often delivered and redelivered with gusto, it seems to be given with the assumption that this is the first time everyone in the room has ever heard it. It is not. Now you know.
It’s not gay if… (something trivial)
e.g. Dude I would go so gay for Michael Phelps.
Well, you know it’s not gay if you don’t make eye contact.
No, no, it’s not gay if you’re wearing socks!
The joke is that you are having sex with someone of your gender, but that by the observance of some insignificant fabricated social convention, the joyful coitus ceases to be homosexual. It of course weirdly toes the line of being fascinated with gay sex and repulsed by it. I don’t have the wherewithal to get into place of insinuated gayness in contemporary bro-culture, but even if we take as an assumption that it’s funny for dudes to speak to each other as if they were super gay when they’re totally not, bros resort to this particular formula too often. And the expansion of the joke—different beats of things that, rationally, do not make having sex with a man heterosexual—does not add much, because anything will satisfy them (i.e. it doesn’t take very inventive thinking to come up with a way of shtupping a man that would still be considered homosexual).
That’s what she said
No illustration necessary
You do not need me to tell you that these have lost their fire. The Office made this clear years ago by making it the favorite joke of Michael Scott. No matter how delicious the innuendo may be, there is a fresher way to deliver it. If you choose to ignore this plea, you will sound like a nine year old.
Memes that clog Facebook newsfeed
e.g. shit Xs say, what my Xs think I do, tumblrs with wacky .gifs whose captions are akin in spirit to the .gifs
The attractive thing about these is that once a meme gets popular, it has a formula that generally works to make people laugh, so if you can just iterate it with something that fits, you’ll be funny without doing much work. However, generally by the time one of these things makes it to Facebook, it has been beaten to death in a few other corners of the internet. If it hasn’t, it will be in seconds.
e.g. #funnycauseitstrue #gypsywithaladybeard #whitegirlproblems
This goes for the internet and real life. Hashtags exist for labeling certain words that might pertain to groups or topics. I’m not saying they aren’t useful—even in Twitter. But they are not funny. Not the way you do them. Adding a few hashtags at the end of a funny statement that explains what was funny about it is murderous. If you extend the joke with hashtags, you could probably just do it with words, and then it would read like a person talks. Barring the case that the joke is in some way about hashtags, if it needs a hashtag in front of it to be funny to you, it is because it’s not funny.
HAVING HEARD THESE ON A MORE OR LESS REGULAR BASIS FOR IN SOME CASES A DECADE, TOLERANCE FOR THEM HAS BEEN RESCINDED. HAVE IT ACKNOWLEDGED THAT INATTENTION TO THE ABOVE DIRECTIVES WILL HERETOFORE BE GREETED NOT ONLY WITH CHILLY SILENCE, BUT ALSO WITH CHILLY EYE-ROLLING, CHILLY FACE-SLAPS, AND CHILLY DE-FRIENDING. THIS IS THE LAST WARNING OF A FRUSTRATED MAN. A BITTER, FRUSTRATED MAN, WHO HAS SO LITTLE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THAT HE GOES AFTER THINGS THAT IN FACT MAKE OTHER PEOPLE HAPPY BECAUSE THEY FAIL TO MAKE HIM HAPPY. THIS IS THE ONLY DIFFERENCE HE CAN SEE TO MAKE IN THE WORLD AND HE HAS PUT LITERAL EFFORT INTO MAKING IT. PLEASE TAKE PITY ON THIS MAN AND HIS PETTY EXISTENCE AND DON’T MAKE JOKES THAT ARE SO STUPID.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMPLIANCE. PLEASE SEE BELOW FUNNY TIDBITS THAT MAY BE USED TO FILL THE HOLE LEFT BY THOSE NOW PROHIBITED TO YOU.
The fact that “jewelry” and “jewry” are pronounced the same by Southerners.
The fact that no matter how much you love an animal, it only stays with you because of a food dependence.
Princeton Sprint Football.
People that are lost.
Gender neutral pronouns.