We love to laugh. Our lives are filled with humor in various forms, from comedy shows to joke books. Ken Jennings, former Jeopardy! champion and author of Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture, calls Twitter “one big joke contest.” Jennings, our guest this week, dives further into the abundance of comedy in our culture and whether it’s a good thing or not.
Comedy was not always king. In fact, people used to value strength, hard work, and skills over humor. But as the world has become more automated, humor is one of the few human skills that can’t be replicated by a robot and, thus, is considered of prime importance. Often, it tops the list in what people are looking for in a partner.
Jennings points out two milestones in comedy’s takeover of our society: changes in advertising and in politics. Once this trend was started, everybody else had to keep up. That is why, now, we get our news from comedy shows and watch the Super Bowl for advertisements.
Humor, no doubt, makes people happy and has many positives. The increase of humor for activism purposes is one example of it being used for good. But, Jennings’ book has a punchline: “If everything is funnier, why aren’t we happier?”
It may be that jokes are too plentiful, or it may be that they have infiltrated in areas where they’re not appropriate. Comedy can often be used for ignoble purposes, to sell unethical products or cover up scandals, for example. So, Jennings encourages us all to reevaluate our attitudes toward humor and make sure it plays an appropriate role in our culture.
To get your own copy of Jennings’ book, see the links below.
- Ken Jennings, former Jeopardy! champion and author of Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture.