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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