Author:TVA

The Joy of Context

The other day I was poking through Twitter, a wise thing to do always, and I came across a reply that comedian Nathan Macintosh sent to another comic. The original tweet was sent by comedian Collie Tyrrell:

“All I ever wanted to do was tell jokes about my soft dick. I never wanted to know about microphones and computers or any of this dumb shit. I’m quitting comedy and moving back to Ireland. Fuck you all.”

Nathan replied to this with:

“Made me laugh”.

It was all I could do to not reply to this with:

“Finally.”

I didn’t. Why not? Collie’s post was both funny and heartfelt. It told a truth which anchors the joke. Nathan’s reply reads as a statement to a friend stating that he got the subtext of the joke. It’s also a lovely set-up for a punchline of “Finally.” which makes it seem like Collie’s got bigger issues with his comedy than his technophobic leanings. Sure, it’d be funny.

The problem is, I don’t know Collie. I don’t know his comedy. I know Nathan, and a reply to him would be funny to us, but it’s at the expense of Collie who I don’t know. To Collie, I’m just some prick on the internet sticking his nose in where it doesn’t belong. Which I am at this point.

Is the “Finally.” joke funny? Sure, if I knew both Nathan and Collie. But I’m an outsider and this joke is out of context, and context is the thing that every joke needs. There’s a lot of jokes being made out there without the necessary context being provided. You need the context as a foundation to lay your joke on. If you don’t have the context, you don’t have a joke. And what makes life even more hellish for comics, is there’s several contexts that you need to consider before pushing a joke out of your mouth.

Here’s a few to consider.