Why clowns are NEVER funny and sometimes stereotypes can be?!

The articles this week were an interesting mix of new perspectives and reiterations of past discussions. It seemed like the overall themes of the Jenkins and Krefting articles looked more into the discussion of “who can make which jokes”. Krefting mentioned Bo Burnham and how one of his bits basically says “minstrelsy sells”. I had the great pleasure of seeing Bo when he was in Minneapolis last year, and I noticed that a great deal of his songs (for those unfamiliar with Bo, a lot of his comedy is turned into song form) have a focus on stereotypes. Bo, being a white heterosexual man, takes his platform to call out a lot of ridiculous ways other privileged people think, whether it be about stupid, insignificant first world problems or about how they think about less-privileged people.

Krefting also talks about the joking “up” rather than “down” argument, how it’s okay to poke fun at the “haves” but not the “have-nots”. I think this is the kind of humor that people feel less bad about since the “haves” have stuff going for them already, but the “have-nots” already have some unfortunate aspect about their life, so it’s not fair to make fun of them.

That’s when I think awkward or darker comedy often happens, because people realize it’s kind of awful to be laughing at the joke, but you want to anyways. Maybe those are the kind of examples that make sense of Freud’s theory that laughter is “liberating” since certain comedians make it okay to laugh at things that we usually don’t feel okay laughing at!

Finally, I just HAD to talk about the McAndrew’s article on how clowns ARE creepy. My cousin forced me to watch Steven King’s “It” when I was only about 10 years old. Guys, I still don’t like walking near street sewers. And I ESPECIALLY still don’t like clowns. Some things are just NOT funny. Like clowns. I have come to realize that one of the creepiest parts about clowns is their masked-ness. When people are able to hide behind a covered face, they have the ability to act differently than normal, and by differently I mean creepy. When I went to Peru this past May, our class was in a local dinner buffet place that often puts on performances about past and present Peruvian/Incan cultures. First night in Cusco and these people with huge, freaky animalistic masks on were performing some dancing ritual and could probably smell my fear from across the room… When they got off stage to interact with the guests all around the room, of course they found me… I was brought to tears with fear. “Bienvenidos a Perú” I guess.


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