Offensive jokes may help non-offensive behavior

The most recent episode of my Crummy Little Podcast featured a good friend and former colleage, Geoff Woliner. He runs his own company now called Winning Wit, which helps people be funny when giving speeches, making toasts, or running campaigns. At one point, we dish a little bit about the difference between the subtle humor of The Simpsons (at least in its early seasons) combined with the over-the-top gags in Family Guy.

Family Guy is well known for jokes which skirt the edge of decency (and occasionally fall over). But as it turns out, that may not be such a bad thing. According to a recent study, playing games like Cards Against Humanity that call for participants to be funny and a little offensive help our brains draw the line on what constitutes racist behavior.

Consider the evolution of mainstream racial humor. In the 19th and early 20th century that meant minstrel shows. Since All in the Family, most mainstream racial humor makes fun of racists; when Donald Trump mock-tweets “I love the blacks!” on SNL, the joke is on his supposed ignorance.

 

 

 

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