Do I lack a sense of humor?

Sometimes, I watch, for a minute or two, some comedian on Comedy Central – the TV was set there from recording The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Much more often than not, I find the person seriously unfunny. And it has long been such.

One time, around 1989, I was at my girlfriend’s house. I was feeling kind of dragged out, and though it was Thursday night I don’t believe I went to choir rehearsal. After choir, she invited a few of our choir friends home, which was OK.

At some point, one of the choir members makes a joke. I don’t specifically remember the story, but it made mention of some Jamaican man’s genitalia, and its large size. I thought it was not only off-color (about which I probably would have let pass) but also racist. But I didn’t say anything for a couple hours. Maybe my illness has made me more touchy, I mused. But when it STILL bugged me, I felt I needed to say something.

So I told the teller of the joke that I didn’t enjoy the joke, and that I found it racially offensive. She quickly and sincerely apologized.

Then her friend said, “Oh, Roger, you just don’t have a sense of humor.” Between feeling crummy, and being really annoyed with her dismissing my feelings, not to mention that I had not been addressing her, I said to her something I think I’ve only said two or three times to another human being in my life: “F@#$ YOU!” Not my finest hour, but there it is.

OBVIOUSLY I am a humorless fellow. That wasn’t either the first or last time someone has leveled that charge at me, though generally I respond with a little more civility.

Actually, I find LOTS of things funny. Seriously, I do. Just not that. Or that. And certainly not THAT.

13 thoughts on “Do I lack a sense of humor?”

    1. Further, I tend to find comedy in situations. The notion of “sitcom” ought not be a bunch of jokes, but a slightly twisted sense of reality. Liked early Cosby albums. Bob Newhart stand-up. Annie Hall. The bad puns on Airplane!


  1. Chris- here’s something I found funny today.

    On a listserv, someone wrote: I am certain there is a retired state demographer… who’d love to lead such a discussion. [We all knew who is being referred to.]

    I wrote:
    Old demographers never retire, they just recalibrate.

    Someone replied:
    …or maybe it’s just that they don’t count anymore. Heaven knows they’ve been broken down by age and sex.

    Now that LAST remark I thought was funny, because it ties the notion the double meaning of “doesn’t count,” plus the “broken down by age and sex” is how Census data are often presented, yet it suggests a different meaning. It might not be funny to everyone, but I laughed.


  2. Honestly I don’t have any sense of humor either when it comes to stupid jokes and to me all jokes are stupid. I just don’t like people whose only conversation is to rattle up a list of jokes and they laugh about them the most. I am not amused (like the Queen would say) Funny things in life make me laugh, or often what little children say. Like the little friend of my son who answered the question “What does your Dad do ?” by saying “He sits in a bank and distributes money to the people” ! Poor man was a bank employee !


  3. I think everybody has a sense of humor, only not the same.You, Roger have a great sense of humor! I agree with you that jokes about the differences of races are usually not funny. I don’t like jokes about genitals, about old and sick people, about discrimination against sexes or races. I do like puns and I liked this question: “Is Tasmania named after the Tasmanian Devil?”. My ten year old grandson was very annoyed, when one of us said:”The Tasmanian Devil is shy, that ‘s why we cannot easily see him”.His answer was: “Of course he is shy, he is an endangered species”.
    When we asked him:”How does he know he is endangered?”.
    He answered:”Instinct, just instinct”.


  4. I don’t think you’d be alone in finding many of the comics on Comedy Central unfunny. Most of what I’ve see out of comedians for a while now have been knockoffs of bits comedians did years ago.


  5. Airplane: When the shit actually hits the fan, I bust a gut. Also the auto-pilot. Have you seen In & Out, the Kevin Kline film? I think you’d like it.

    People who have no sense of humor are THAT PERSON who told the racist joke. THEY are the ones with the problem, not you. Granted, F*** you is not the snappiest comeback, but I find the same predicament… when I’m around a bunch of Anglos who turn out to be crackers, like my sister’s Fundie friends, they assume that, since I’m the same shade, I’m “in their club.” The racist shit comes out, my sister squirms because she’s afraid I’ll say something, and I usually say, “You know? I think I’ll go out to the barn and shovel some of this conversation.” Goes right over their bleached heads.

    Same with straights joking about lesbians and gays. Although in that case, I let them know I am a PFLAG mom and an ally of the gay/lesbian community, have been since age 5. They say, “Age 5? How did that happen?” I tell them, my mom raised me right!

    My only prejudice is against bigots. Peace, Amy


    1. I DID see In and Out with Kevin Kline, Amy. I recall liking it, though, I’ve only seen it once and have a weak recollection of the details.


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