Society & Culture:Philosophy
#431: How Everything Is Funny Now, and Why That's Terrible
No matter where you look these days, someone is trying to make you laugh. Advertisers, politicians, and even ministers have all become comedians. But it wasn’t always like this. When and why did the world become so funny? And what are the consequences of living in a culture where everything has a touch of humor and irony?
My guest explores those questions in his latest book, Planet Funny. His name is Ken Jennings (yes, Ken Jennings the Jeopardy guy). Today on the show, Ken shares the moment in his life that got him thinking about how humor has taken over the world. From there we discuss the history of humor and how it’s changed throughout the ages. Ken and I then discuss the recent advent of politicians, advertisers, and amateur Twitter comedians trying to be funny and how the internet has changed humor. We then dig into the consequences of living in a hyper-humorous world, including the decline of sincerity, earnestness, and even genuine, gut-busting laughter. Ken ends our conversation with a call to be more mindful of how an excessive focus on funniness can impoverish society, our decisions, and ourselves.
Get the show notes at aom.is/planetfunny.
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