It’s just a joke: Laugh about it, don’t cry

By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer

Laughter is the best medicine, and the goal of comedy has always been to make people laugh. Comedy’s unique blend of wordplay, puns and even innuendos are truly genius and deserve a laugh — but college students aren’t laughing, they’re taking offense.

In 2015, star comedian Jerry Seinfeld voiced his concerns about performing at colleges. Alongside him, Chris Rock and Larry the Cable Guy both share the same ideals. Today, even more comedians are coming to the same conclusion.

Many college students are so concerned with what is right or wrong they can’t sit down and appreciate a good joke. I understand race, gender and politics are all hot button issues, but most jokes focusing on the issues are not meant to offend; they are simply meant instead to break in an audience.

Comedians have to include a shock factor in all the work they do. To be fair, a large audience enjoys jokes that teeter on the line of being offensive, and it becomes incredibly hard to appeal to those people as well as those who don’t appreciate it. The issue is not that comedy isn’t for everybody, because it very much is, the issue is that there is no understanding or appreciation.

Good comedy doesn’t always need to be offensive either, it can be a great story with a silly twist. Comedians such as Dave Chappelle and Jim Gaffigan rely on their stories to entertain an audience but without twists, they’re just storytellers.

With the developments of podcasting in the past few years, it’s become “safer” to be a podcaster than to tell jokes. Many comedians have bailed from the traditional standup routine to instead tell stories and not rely on a real time laugh. The trend of podcasting and appealing to a unique audience has occurred due to poor audience reactions and COVID-19, but it’s also become incredibly easy to grow online.

If comedians are able to rally together support online, it doesn’t make sense to travel. For students, the appreciation for in-person comedy is depreciating because there are less opportunities to see in-person sets.

Let’s be real, we could all use a good laugh, but comedy shows are never our first choice. As college students, we find what is accessible and exciting to do. Waco doesn’t have a great comedy scene and, to be frank, it would be a hard place to perform. From religious to political ideology, just about everything could turn someone the wrong way.

Instead of focusing on why something is “offensive” students should focus more on the experience. Again, it’s not easy to tell jokes, and many times it’s not easy to laugh, but the goal of comedy is to be funny not to offend. The sooner the next generation understands the difference between a joke and an insult, the world will be a better place.