Face it. Back in November 2016, on the night after the presidential election, a lot of us had no idea how we were going to get through the next four years. Of course, we could organize, demonstrate, call Congress, rant on Facebook, but what has consistently helped was laughing. Whoever your go-to comic, their jokes helped take the edge off our anger and view reality from a different perspective. Life is full of pain…death, sickness, aging, natural disasters, money problems…but a good joke reminds us that we’re not alone with it. Humor helps us cope, speaks truth to power, deflates arrogance, and exposes the absurdity of our esteemed social customs.
And yet humor is a complex subject. There are some people who can tell great jokes and others who make us suffer through every word until the punch line. There are jokes that are raunchy but acceptable because they allow us to share taboo subjects. And, of course, there are jokes at other people’s expense that reinforce stereotypes and cause pain.
Talking with me about jokes and joke tellers is author, Chicago radio personality, and Professor of Business Ethics, Al Gini. His new book is The Importance of Being Funny: Why We Need More Jokes in Our Lives.