Submitted by Kelly McBride on Tue, 03/03/2009 – 2:03pmin
Session Convenor: Kelly McBride
Session Reporter: Kelly McBride
Discussion Participants: José Báez Guerrero, John Hamer, Jacob Kaplan-Moss, Jannet Walsh, Lori Rosolowsky, Nick Penniman, Tyson Evans
Humor seems to be a huge commodity on the Internet. What can we learn about humor that will help us in journalism?
We looked at these videos (Jacob will add the list)
Questions we asked:
Is the Internet replacing the funny pages?
What’s the difference between amusing and funny?
Where the Hell is Matt Video
It’s structured like a good joke:
riffing on the punchlines
good storytelling – examines difference and universal
Having a point is not a pre-requisite on the Internet
Generates a huge audience (18 million)
People remember emotional response to information
Creates a MEME (a cultural idea that is mimicked)
repeatable, remixable, inside joke w/a wink
Funny kid worried about blood video
Common form of family video
there is a punchline
A form of realism and spontaneity that can’t be faked
Layers and layers and layers of visual and auditory jokes
Targeted to an audience that will “get it”
Culturally specific, assumes underlying knowledge
Assumes a collective unconscious
Invites you to revisit it
If you don’t get it, you are motivated to figure out the jokes
the path from “I don’t get it” to “I get it” is quick and easy on the Internet, eliminating the need for the background graph so common to journalism
Humor is a great conversation starter. We need to be conversation starters, not conversation finishers
Humorous voice signals: talk about this
Authorative voice signals: yell about this
Dana Milbank’s Plouffe video
Accomplishes much more than a straight story, even a funny story
Humor endears you to the deliverer
Individuals are funny, institutions are bullies. Has to come from indiv.
The notion of staying out of the story may be a disincentive to be funny
As a society, when we use humor against the powerful, we use it to unsettle. When we use humor against everyone else, we use it to reinforce social expectations.
Maybe there’s a new idiom
new language of humor is emerging
relies on individuality
seems more truthful, but also more subjective
More new idioms we find, the more we connect with the audience
You have to be fast with your joke, the audience will click away if it gets bored
What’s your goal with humor? to be popular? to provoke? add perspective? document? truth?
Self-deprecating works well. Can journalists take it as well as they dish it out?
Final video: Business reporting spoof
Why is swearing so funny?