Episode 112: Navigating Dark Comedy

Dark comedy is very difficult. You have to bring the audience in and push them away at the same time.
— Pierce Brosnan
Black Comedy is a farce that is played in the dark, as you know, with the lights full on. It’s the Chinese convention of reversing light and dark, and exactly where anybody is at any given moment is the play.
— Peter Shaffer

While joke-telling and humor form essential bonds in a community or culture, the types of jokes we tell and those we appreciate or avoid say a great deal about our perspectives as people. In particular, dark comedy or humor approaches socially taboo or emotionally heavy topics in a playful or lighthearted way. This week Mike Jest returns as a guest to help explore the consequences of dark humor and its foundation in personal observation. Some may cringe or present vocal concern or protest, but the presence of dark jokes as both a means and a topic of social commentary is worthy of consideration. Does dark comedy reveal areas in which we are not an empathetic or sensitive society? Do we need dark jokes to cope with the gravity of controversial issues and tragic events? And is dark comedy a label we broadly apply to some subjects which me exclude or alienate us but promote bonds within other groups of people?