Was That Supposed to Be... Funny?

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"Seeing a person slip on a banana peel and hurtle through the air may cause laughter but only if we ourselves are not that person, for laughter depends on insulation from danger and pain." (167, Roberts).

 

Alright- How many of you are guilty of laughing at another person's dismay? That is also known as Schadenfreude (as made popular by a song from the musical Avenue Q). It's only funny when it can't happen to us. This sad statement is so incredibly true... I also know someone who uses laughter as a coping method. Why are horrible things funny, though? Anyway... here are the lyrics from "Schadenfreude" that I adopted from letssingit.com:


Gary:
Right now you are down and out
And feelin' really crappy.

Nikki:
I'll say.

Gary:
And when I see how sad you are,
It sorta makes me happy.

Nikki:
Happy?

Gary:
Sorry Nikki.
Human nature-
Nothing I can do.
It's Schadenfreude
Making me feel glad that I'm not you.

Nikki:
Now that's not very nice Gary.

Gary:
I didn't say it was nice,
But everybody does it.
'Dya ever clap when a waitress falls
And drops a tray of glasses?

Nikki:
Yea.

Gary:
And ain't it fun to watch figure skaters
Fallin' on their *****?

Nikki:
Sure.

Gary:
Don't you feel all warm and cozy
Watching people out in the rain?

Nikki:
You bet.

Gary:
That's

Both:
Schadenfreude.

Gary:
People taking pleasure in your pain.

Nikki:
Oh. Schadenfreude, huh? What's that? Some kind of Nazi word?

Gary:
Yup. It's German for 'happiness at the misfortune of others'.

Nikki:
'Happiness at the misfortune of others'
That is German!

Nikki:
Being on an elevator when somebody
Shouts 'Hold the door!'

Gary:
Oh yea!

Both:
No!
Schadenfreude...

Gary:
**** you lady!
That's what stairs are for!

Nikki:
Ooh- How about:
Straight A student's getting B's...

Gary:
Exes getting STDs...

Nikki:
Waking doormen from their naps...

Gary:
Watching tourists reading maps...

Nikki:
Football players getting tackled...

Gary:
CEOs getting shackled...

Nikki:
Watching actors never reach...

Both:
The ending of their Oscar speech!
Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude!

Gary:
The world needs people like you and me
Who've been knocked around by fate
'Cause when people see us
They don't want to be us
And that makes them feel great




Sorry about the profanity. The song, however, explains the concept of happiness at the misfortune of others better than I ever could.





6 Comments

Melissa Schwenk said:

Great example. Things are usually funny when they happen to other people, but sometimes they, too, become funny after the fact to us. At that point, we can then look back on it and laugh about it or at least hopefully. Plus, it does add to a story or in some way helps enhance what is taking place in the story.

Aja Hannah said:

Avenue Q is awesome though I've never seen the whole thing.

That's interesting though the point they made about it being a German word and (not to say all Germans are bad or think this way) but it reminds me of the Holocaust and the attitudes of Nazis then.

Kayla Lesko said:

I have to say, that's an awesome song. I've heard some songs from Avenue Q, but not this one.

It's like that saying, "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt... Then it's hilarious!"

Josie Rush said:

another example of taking pleasure from another's pain: fmylife.com. I've spent some time laughing at that site, that's for sure.

Josie, I was going to recommend that site!

What's it called when you laugh at your own discomfort? Any time something embarrassing happens to me, I just laugh about it because I know how ridiculous it is. I don't think I've ever been embarrassed to the point that I couldn't laugh at myself, and I've had some embarrassing moments. I'm just an overall giggly person :)

JessicaOrlowski Author Profile Page said:

I am a giggly person, too, Karyssa! Well, I think it could be considered the same thing, because we normally laugh at ourselves to make others laugh. Maybe? :)

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