I was thinking about comedy today and the boundaries of what is funny and what isn't funny or considered offensive. What defines a joke as offensive and not funny? Is it the opinion of the many? From my experience at comedy shows, jokes about some subjects would be incredibly offensive if the majority of the world heard it. And yet, in that venue in front of that particular group of attendees, it's just considered a joke. Sure some may find it offensive and not laugh and some might even find it offensive and still laugh. Does it make you a bad person to find it funny? Does it make you a better person to not find it funny? Is there even a thing as a "better person"?
What really interests me is the people that go to a comedy show and laugh but feel bad about it afterwards. The people that think the jokes are hilarious at the time but won't repeat the joke afterwards because they think it's a little offensive. Was it the crowd that compelled you to laugh at the time? Did you need validation from the majority that it was ok to laugh at this offensive joke? You found it funny so accept your taste in humour and embrace the content to allow yourself to enjoy something.
The group mentality at comedy shows are an interesting thing. Actually the group mentality at many events are an incredibly interesting. Take for example this years RTX. I was at the Off Topic panel 4 hours early and while the crowd were waiting, they were playing music. People just got up and started to dance. And then more and more until there was a huge train of people dancing around the hall and most people were dancing in their chairs. The group mentality was to enjoy the moment and dance. I didn't see it at other panels. Most of the time people are just in their groups of friends chatting among themselves. This crowd felt this is the moment to dance and enjoy the moment. It was fantastic.
But back to the comedy aspect. What boundaries do you have with jokes and would you laugh if presented with a joke of this type in a crowd of people laughing? Are you in the wrong? Are they in the wrong? The reality is we all have different levels of what we consider to be "just a joke" and what we consider to be "just wrong". Does the delivery matter? Does the group mentality matter? Or does your opinion only matter to you?
I was talking to my friend the other day and I said I had a joke for him. I said, "So I was in bed with this girl the other day" and he just started to laugh and said "Good one". I said "What?" and he said "That's hilarious, the idea that you'd ever have a girl in your bed". I said "But that's just the start of the joke" and he said "well that's going to be funnier than anything else you say after that". I continued though. "So I was in bed with this girl watching her sleep and thinking about how past girlfriends say I don't know what love is. I was looking at this beautiful woman sleeping next to me. How quiet and happy she looked. How perfect this moment was to have this woman by my side and I wanted it to never end. How I thought that we could be together for the rest of our lives right here in this bed. Just the two of us. How I wanted to touch her soft face but didn't want to disturb her. So I just lay there watching. And then she woke up and started yelling at me things like "who are you? What are you doing here?". It really broke the relationship. Especially when her boyfriend came in the room.