In certain circles, there seems to be a worrying trend toward complacency in humour, brought about by over-familiarity in social groups. As someone who generally defines the social worth of themselves and others in terms of who can make who laugh, it is somewhat disappointing when the joke is one everyone has conspired in advance to find funny.
Allow me to elaborate with a specific example. Replacing the word ‘crazy’ with ‘cray-cray’ is not a joke, nor has it ever been. As such, if you are a member of a large social group where each member has silently agreed to laugh at the phrase to make whoever is using it feel better about having no originality (or humour) in their humour, you know who you are and should feel bad. It gets worse when this kind of operation makes up the entire comedic repertoire of a group conversation. Nobody wants to be bored with other people’s problems and neuroses without reward and frankly, it seems to be humour that lets everyone know we’re all in it together. Humour is what we offer other people. Beyond that we’re social leeches, feeding on the attention of others, whether it be in the form of their pity, understanding or congratulations. It is the ability to laugh at this and say ‘Don’t worry, I know what an idiot I am and I trust you enough to let you know that’ that makes people real.
When more people start letting people in rather than measuring each other by facts and figures; earnings, connections or prospects, that will be a big step forward indeed.