A Laughing Matter
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Today, everyone seems to need to laugh more; it saves on medical expenses. But despite its jocular presentation, comedy is a cruelty the audience laughs at not to cry instead. When surrounded by such unfeeling cruelty daily, the whole world becomes a farce.
“Comedy is anything funny, but when so many people are trying to make jokes on any subject, really anything is comedy,” says Sophomore Abrianna Custodio.
In ancient Greece, comedies made humanity witness itself, intending to improve upon society’s situation. Today, what should be trying to save the world might be contributing to its destruction.
“Nowadays, comedy trivializes and waters down any divisive subject enough, so that it can be talked about openly without causing people to either take offense or cringe,” says Junior Connor Gioia.
Either to revolt or cope with this, comedy has taken on a duality. On the first side, comedy is still a comforting reevaluation of the world.
“For some people, comedy is a way to give an analogy to certain ideas and events, which helps you get over a troubling subject by thinking happier. It can desensitize people into not thinking of it as a threat, which could help,” says Junior Chris DeYoung.
On the other side, however, not all are sincere in using comedy for comfort as they are rapt in the weaponization of comedy.
“If the comedy is inappropriate towards someone, it offers the opposite of acceptance and understanding. A lot today seems to derive from stereotypes, and while comedy is meant to represent the people, it makes most feel misrepresented and misunderstood,” says Senior Kayla Sitton.
The duality of comedy does provide comfort as well as harm, but it additionally provides clarity of divisions in America. By clarifying through humor, comedy can relieve tension of terrible events; but comedy loves hyperbole, and that can make each succeeding event seems worse than the last.
“During the election, comedy was mainly used to show how poor every candidate was and help further increase tensions between parties. Then, people used comedy to try and feel better about the outcome,” says DeYoung.
Between the two parties, comedy is flung about to gain votes or to mudsling against the other candidate. Each side strays away into rhetoric and uses comedy as a weapon instead of as a way to reach common ground. Those in the television industry, who use comedy as a livelihood, do the same.
“People like John Oliver and Jon Stewart take subjective journalism, add comedy, and then present that as news against other parties to convince people of the biased opinion,” says Gioia.
Comedy has been mangled for the purpose of making a witty point at the expense of another, whether in politics, intolerance, or the next upcoming event. There are some times, though, that the weapon has lost its lethality, and the audience can see that this is not true comedy.
“It’s obvious when someone has crossed a line because no one is laughing. People laugh to not disagree, to keep silent their own opinion, but when it becomes repetitive or involves someone who cannot fix their situation, silence clearly shows what everyone thinks,” says Custodio.
Within the modern age, when it is not used for the purposes of ruining reputations, a small part of comedy’s potential still exhibits itself.
“When you’re laughing, it distracts you from dark things. At any moment, depression or saddening things can be forgotten and you can feel better about yourself for a small amount of time,” says Gioia.
Comedy should never offend a rational person or belittle someone for sport. Comedy exists so that any situation can be observed and satirized respectfully for the purpose of betterment, not derogation and entitlement The main issue is that laughing is meant to help solve problems, not cause them.
“What I like about comedy is that you are laughing and thinking at the same time, but the serious things you are thinking about become small and insignificant. You almost don’t care anymore because it is just another issue, and when it’s just another one, it becomes easy to solve,” says Sitton.