Cultural humor

Posted by James, 30 Mar 07


Cultural humor and ethnic jokes are things that people get a kick out of these days. The culture –skewering comedy… we know them. The biggest problem is when to draw the line between funny and offensive. Comedians have developed the art of satirizing stereotypes, the internet has all these jokes.

You know those clever jabs that fly back and forth between couples, usually in front of a crowd… at a dinner party or something? Well am at a dinner party and a beaming couple are telling jokes about each other’s culture. The jokes are flying back and forth… and suddenly the room goes silent coz the woman is now going on and on at the husband’s culture. Well I don’t think the husband took the jokes rather well coz his face suddenly turned red.

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Here is couple incredibly affectionate with each other and they just can’t resist sticking it to each other in front of people. These lethal, scathing comments about the other persons culture may seem funny yes… but somewhat offensive. And when I asked the woman what that was all about, she went “Oh please! He knows am just kidding"?.

I myself have been guilty of such stinging comments. Well my former girlfriend, a Chinese, later pulled me and told me if I think am outgoing by getting at her, am not. And she never used to mind such jokes at all. In fact she used to joke about her own culture herself.

That was when I realized that the line between being funny and offensive when it comes to someone’s culture is very delicate. When it’s the two of you, its something else but when you are having friends over… save them for later. Its never funny if others are dumping the jokes on you.

Tags: cultural jokes, ethnic jokes, cultural comedy

2 responses to "Cultural humor"

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  1.   fkoi says:
    Posted: 07 Apr 10

    Cultural humor is bigotry in a mask. When does it become offensive? When doesn't it? Private jabs between friends or lovers is one thing. Public displays of disaffection quite another. If I wanna pass on an ethnic joke, I take the intended group out and replace it with my own. It usually turns the whole situation on its head, sort of making a joke out of making a joke out of making fun of a particular cultural group. If you followed all that, you can safely try this at home!

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  2.   Fala says:
    Posted: 30 Mar 07

    Humor is very culture specific so you have to be careful.

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