Curation by Grace Snider
Quarantine humor capitalizes on the ordinary and nostalgia. No one thought that they would miss waking up violently hungover after staying out until 3AM or Cactus Grill’s espinaca. No one thought that they would ever again be reminded of something as minute as entering a Danimals sweepstakes, hoping to win a free cruise vacation. No one thought that vacations would be something possibly prohibited. No one thought their routines could possibly be shaken, but alas! They can be.
Humor has always been a way to cope with legitimately stressful and hard-to-grasp moments, but those sensitive moments render arguably insensitive material for comedy.Death is a touchy subject, and joking about human existence being threatened in just the span of a month still somehow passes the imaginary humor approval test. How?
The way to justify this insensitivity, both in Corona Time and Many Other Hard Times, is to ensure that it is rooted in personal experience to give it that extra touch of self-deprecation.The shock, unpreparation, and absurdity of COVID-19 brings people’s thoughts into the extreme. For example, joking about avoiding it all via death by shriveling like a raisin.
I can joke about how COVID has made me realize how boringly productivity-dependent and hobby-less my life is because I am the one sensitive to my own joke.People are realizing that their hobbies are dependent not on talent or out-of-the-ordinary talent, but spending money to be entertained by bars, restaurants, and non-essential businesses—and this is funny.
But if someone made a joke about Tom Hanks’s positive coronavirus testing, that is a guaranteed fast pass to hell because Tom Hanks is the purest form of humanity still alive and a beloved figure throughout the world.It would also be completely idiotic and reckless to joke not about mass extinction, but the death of a very specific person. Even though people find stupidity funny, as shown on the right, it has to ironically be intentional stupidity.
With a worldwide pandemic, though, everything could be considered a shared experience, thus blurring the lines that have not exactly been established in the first place. Everyone’s hair is looking worse than people’s hair did in the 1980s, yet the shared experience still is made uncomfortable with the introduction of roadside sex workers.
The 1918 flu did not exactly lay out a humor roadmap, but what Coronavirus has laid out is that humor sensitizes people to the virus more than the virus sensitizing us to humor. Coronavirus has sensitized people to their shocking dislike of family time, bad face-touching habits, and disregard for public health conversations in general.The jokes pertaining to COVID reveal what is and is not off-limits.