Respect Your Elder's Humour

“Hey Papa, I like your sweater.”

“Thanks. I got it in prison.”

“You’ve never been to prison.”

Grandparents: older and wiser than us. We see them as these people with years of life and experiences, but also as people that have watched the world change drastically throughout their life. Even in my lifetime, major changes have happened. This week, I got a hold of my Nana (unfortunately, my Papa was busy) to answer a few questions about her idea of humour and her opinion on humour today.         

“What are some things that you find funny?”

 Nana: Sometimes cartoons. Seeing little animals playing, when they’re running around falling all over one another. Sometimes there are some good jokes.

“What kind of jokes do you like?”

Nana: I guess whatever’s funny at the time, in that situation.

“What does Papa think is funny?”

Nana: America’s Funniest Home Videos.  

Me: Those chain e-mails that are a couple hundred words before they reach the punchline.

Nana: Oh god, [laughs] yeah he does.

“What was funny when you were a kid?”

Nana: I Love Lucy, she and Ethel got into all kinds of situations. The Little Rascals. The Three Stooges.

“What do you think about the general, popular* kinds of humour you see today?”

Nana: I really don’t see the point of a lot of jokes, they’re usually more rude than funny. It’s more cruel than anything.

*Referring to the crude, aggressive sorts of humour (sexual jokes, jokes about people, ect.) 

“What do you think of the TV show Jackass*?” 

Nana: Some of it was okay, but others were going too far.

*The show my poor Nana was subjected to watching whenever my cousin and I came over.

“What is your overall view of humour today compared to humour when you were younger?”

Nana: Today’s humour is more brazen than in my time. More suggestive than it was back then; most jokes are only funny on the way it’s left for you to perceive it.

So after talking to my Nana I realized that for her, humour has lost its enjoyment in its reliance on hurting others and being too suggestive. For her, humour is something to be enjoyed by everyone, not at someone’s expense; which is really quite a sweet grandmotherly thing to say. 

Photo Credit: Charis Garwood

Mikayla spitse

Mikayla is a Professional Writing student who makes bad jokes and expects people to laugh. She aims to work with Vice one day. 

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Not So Happy Halloween

It’s officially November. The creepy decorations are coming down, the costumes are being packed away, and the candy is going on sale. It has been yet another Halloween season, and I'm already counting down the days until next Halloween, the holiday I look forward to every year; all the candy, costumes, movies, and TV specials. It’s all spooky and wonderful. And with Halloween, in recent years, comes the tradition to watch Jimmy Kimmel's "I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy" videos, in which parents lie to their children about eating all their Halloween candy. The reaction? Anger. Tears. Acceptance. A little in between. It’s a tradition that has carried on for five years now, and Kimmel admits this year they hit an all-time high of submissions. Now take a second to think; all the people submitting these videos are parents. Adults. It’s funny to them. It’s funny to me, and many others my age.

So what is it that’s so funny about torturing small children by telling them that all their hard work, long excursion, and fabulous costume, was all for nothing? Is it wrong? Are parents the real devils on Halloween? As a 19-year-old college student, I have never been a parent to anything more than some small rodents and reptiles. So what do parents of human beings have to say about these videos? I asked over Facebook and these are the responses I received:

Question: Did you find the Jimmy Kimmel's I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy video cruel or funny?


MI: laughed at a couple of them... I don't think it's cruel... it's interesting to see the different reactions of the kids... couple of them we had to say were bratty about it.... Some was the reaction I expected... "Kids say the darndest things!"

CS: It is funny as an adult, to watch, but this would be devastating to a child. I feel some should have confessed to the prank to spare their kids the grief. On another note, good job to the family whose child did not become upset and forgave the parents immediately, they have taught their child what is truly important in life.

JF: Okay, so my first response, and perhaps shamefully, my primary response was to laugh at this. I took it in the vein in which it was given. It made me laugh. Although, I will say it was funnier in previous years ;) However, if I were to step back and put my parental cap on, I will admit that the emotional manipulation and age of the children involved does come across more cruel than humorous.

YS: I did not think this was very nice to do that to those children a little cruel if you ask me .

DG:  That is just sooooo cruel. You take the children out and tell them they will get candy then you tell them you ate their candy while they were away. Not nice!!!! You have just lied to your children and thought it was funny. Not good just saying.

Photo Credit: Karolina Michalak


Mikayla is a Professional Writing student who makes bad jokes and expects people to laugh. She aims to work with Vice one day.

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Meet the Parents


They say we inherit most of our traits from our parents. We surely see it in our physical form, same eyes, same crooked smiles. But what about our sense of humour? Did we get our love of cat videos from our moms? Do we laugh at the failure of others because of our dads? Or is it personal? Perhaps it's a bit of both. 

This week, I sent my mom three links to YouTube videos that I find funny, and asked her and my dad to watch them while we spoke on the phone. They were judging my humour, and I was judging theirs. This is the information I collected.

Video 1: Teletubbies: I Fink You Freeky (Warning: Explicit Content)


Dad: "I can’t believe we let our children watch this!"

Mom: "This wasn’t an actual part of the show."

Me: I can't believe someone sat down and made this. It works too well."

Their overall opinion? 

They thought the video was pretty inappropriate. My dad thought it was “disturbing but funny” and my mom called it "a doozy,” but I did hear a few chuckles on her end.

Video 2: Dog of Wisdom


Dad: "Do you think that’s how the dog hears us?"

Me: "Why does this exist? Why is this funny to me?"

Their overall opinion?

Though I heard some chuckles between both them, they agreed that they could have done without watching the video.

Video 3: Princess Plum (Warning: Explicit Content)


No words were spoken over the duration of this video, but I could hear some laughter and audible sounds of disgust.

I, on the other hand, cried from laughter.

Their overall opinion?

They felt pretty "meh" about the whole video. 

So from the videos I showed them, I gathered that my parents and I didn't really have the same taste in viral videos. After such a weak reaction to a few of my favourite videos, I needed to assure myself that my parents still had a funny bone in them. I asked them about their personal tastes in comedy.

Me: "Do you think that you and your parents had a similar taste in humour?"

Dad: "Yeah, it was pretty much the same."

Mom: "They never laughed. Unless one of us [her and her siblings] fell down. Well, I guess I’d laugh at that too. But yeah, they weren't very funny.”

Me: "What’s the funniest movie you’ve seen?"

Dad: "Pink Panther Strikes Again."

Mom: "Bridesmaids."

Me: "Who do you think is funny?"

Dad: "Jeff Ross."

Mom: "Wayne Brady."

Me: "Last question. Am I funny?

Unanimous: "Yes."

Good answer, parents, good answer. 

Photo Credit: Speight                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Video Credit: Robert Jones | Joe | CollegeHumor


Mikayla Spitse

Mikayla is a Professional Writing student who makes bad jokes and expects people to laugh. She aims to work with Vice one day. 

What's Funny | Facebook

Hey, I'm Funny

It’s a normal scene; you’re sitting around the television with your family, watching the first thing you could all, sort of, agree on, and the main character makes a joke, a very obvious joke. It hits your funny bone just right and you burst out into a fit of laughter. You look at your parents to gauge their reactions and find them sitting blank-faced, completely unaffected by the piece of comedic gold you have just experienced.   “How can you not laugh at that?” you say, almost defensively of yourself.


They shrug and reply, “It just wasn’t funny.” Now you’re put in a situation of doubting your taste in humour, or, more realistically, questioning whether or not you were adopted at birth and your real parents are actually comedians somewhere. You’re too funny for the former to be the case, and now you are viciously searching the internet for comedian couples.

Or you’re on the other couch in this scenario. You’re busting your gut and look to your child to share in this humourous moment and find them texting on their cellphone and rolling their eyes at you. You begin to wonder which of your in-laws’ poor taste in humour your child inherited.

But why is that? What is it that causes some people to split their sides laughing while others are silent or even insulted? It’s something that we typically see over generations, from you to your parents and from your parents to theirs. What’s changed over the years that makes today's jokes seem lacklustre? Or even yet, what has stayed the same in humour that you and your parents or grandparents can share a chuckle over?

For me, and probably many others, it’s a bit of a mix between the two situations. Most of the time though, I find I’m the only one laughing. And for all I know, when they are laughing, they’re laughing at me instead of with me.

So the question is, what's so funny? I'm going to be asking my parents and grandparents, to see how different - or similar - our taste in humour is, and whether they've noticed a change in comedy since they were kids. Of course, humour is a personal thing and not everyone fits into certain categories based on age alone. But I do think there is something that can be said about the evolution of the 'knock, knock' jokes, to the borderline - or not-so-borderline - offensive jokes we've come to accept today.

Have a laugh on me:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dog of Wisdom                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Parrot Caught Singing Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

Photo Credit: Blake Campbell

Mikayla Spitse

Mikayla is a Professional Writing student who makes bad jokes and expects people to laugh. She aims to work with Vice one day. 

What's Funny | Facebook