Current thread in Café Society about Animal House. Opinions vary on why it is or isn’t a great flick, but what stands out for me is what some see as the political incorrectness of the humor, which I see as simply dark humor well executed. Different strokes.
Anyway, dark humor, gallows humor, basically finding the funny in stuff that is just really awful like Helen Keller jokes, dead baby jokes, jokes about murder, rape, traumatic amputation, etc. are easy to take offense at. But I find it fascinating that some people can see the joke for the anti-statement it is (priest/choir boy rape jokes are funny precisely because the subject matter violates multiple sensibilities at the same time), whereas others refuse or are otherwise disinclined to even accept the premise of the “joke.”
Now clearly I’ll be voting “yes” in the poll, but I do have limits. Specifically, there is exactly one facet of the human experience I simply can’t laugh at (and this bothers me intellectually) because of a personal experience. If you vote “No” I would be interested to know if you have a qualifier like that, and but for that topic the rest of the genre is either acceptable or benign to you. I wouldn’t ask what your taboo is, because I’m not disclosing mine.
There’s a difference between jokes involving rape and straight forward using rape as a humorous element. There’s also a difference between making a movie and playing Cards against humanity with friends.
None of the options fit my view, so I didn’t vote.
For me, the darker the humor, the more brilliant it needs to be. It doesn’t necessarily need to be insightful into human nature or anything, but it does need to have some serious chops.
Lazy humor that references stereotypes often misbrands itself as edgy or dark. Shock humor does the same thing: if the humor of your joke is supposed to be that I’m sad about murdering children, it’s just gonna annoy me. I hate that lazy shit. (Note that lazy bland humor is just fine with me; lord knows I tell my share of dumb dad jokes).
But if your humor is like the meme that Crazy Canuck referenced (I saw it as a quote from Stalin), I’m gonna enjoy the hell out of it.
Animal House isn’t dark humor, it’s sophomoric. For dark humor you have to look to things like The Sopranos. I totally missed The Sopranos during the initial run because I thought it was a crime story. When I finally started watching I realized there were more laughs in a single episode than in a whole season of most sitcoms.
OK, gotta chime in with the others about Animal House being dark humor. There’s nothing dark about it at all. Mel Brooks? Seriously? Not dark at all. When I think dark humor, I think stuff like Delicatessen, Man Bites Dog, Fargo, Heathers, Happiness, that sort of thing.