Yesterday in class we had a discussion on humor and comedy. I happen to be a huge comedy fan and have read novels by comedians Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling to name a few. I think that humor is something that we need in order to stay sane. As out there as it sounds, humor and comedy provide us with something to be joyful about and our favorite comedians can always be there to provide us with a good laugh. My go to comedy show is Saturday Night Live, which in its 40 year run has adapted, changed, and still manages to stir up controversy sometimes.
Why do we need humor? One can argue that humor brings into light new information. In a show like SNL, while big events are focused on, the writers also pay close attention to little know events/people and make it into something. It can also be said that the purpose of comedy is to critique. Comedy acts an outlet for self expression and to explore the limits of people. In addition, comedy often allows so called “taboo” topics or material to be explored. If an awkward topic is being acted out or discussed in a funny manner, people may become more comfortable with the topic.
As time goes on, humor changes as do the comedians who provide us with laughs. Often, comedy today is about pushing boundaries, crossing lines, and sometimes testing people. We like humor and comedy because they appeal to our needs – whether we are angry and need something to laugh about, or when we need to put a smile on our face after a hard time.
Shows like SNL address serious topics in a manner that makes it okay to move on and continue to live life. Right after the 9/11 attacks, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani came onto SNL and told America that it is okay to laugh again. It was okay for Americans to let go of the breath that they were holding in. It was okay to smile and be grateful to be alive. In this case, comedy was the much needed savior that America needed at a time of insecurity and vulnerability.
Humor and comedy are a huge part of our lives, and to a certain extent as human beings, it keeps us running.