Why We Laugh

There is a lot to be said about today’s world. And endless amounts of new media, old media, interactive media, who-gives-a-crap media give opportunities for people to comment about this world. Television, radio, and newspapers have given “real” journalists endless places to post their analysis, commentary, and representations about that day’s events. Now, the internet has created an outlet for anyone with a computer to spout their ideas and connect with those around them. These days, we are bombarded with media in all forms, and the lines begin to blur between reporting and opinion, credible and disreputable, and courageous disposition and pure blasphemy. So how do we begin to make sense of it all?

Well, I suppose we could all just have a good laugh.

That’s what Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Joel McHale, Daniel Tosh and countless others decided was necessary. In the midst of all the media craziness, these journalists (and yes, I will call them journalists) respond with a much needed furrowed brow to the inane commentary made by media participants, from professionals on T.V. and in print all the way down to the laymen posting comments and videos on Twitter and Youtube.

So what about these guys who decide to make fun instead of make news? Why should they matter to us any more than stretching our funny bone a few times a week?

Answer: Because of those who watch them.

Every week, 18-35 year olds tune in to watch these journalists and their programs seemingly for just a good laugh. However, I maintain that these scheduled programs provide some of the only ways and times to truly reach out and persuade this flighty demographic. Advertisers and marketers have yet to realize the full potential that exists in these programs’ commercial time slots or in the creative ways to sponsor a particular show segment. Political candidates must realize that through humor and parody they could actually make their message stick with this notoriously low voting turn-out age group.

With posts, video clips, photos, and news pieces, I plan to explore the endless strategic communication possibilities that exist within humorous media, particularly that which is on television. Journalism is evolving, but parody has also existed as an effective way to inform an audience. It just hasn’t been used to it’s full potential.

In the end, we laugh because it is necessary. The murders and death, political elections and uprisings, and natural disasters and messes can make anyone feel overwhelmed. News is an essential part of our daily lives, but so is comedy. Furthermore, it seems like younger generations are skipping the real news and turning straight to the stuff that makes them laugh. It’s hard to get a serious message across to this demographic sometimes, whether it be persuasive or informative. But with the right analysis and research, it is incredibly possible to see the potential that exists.

In the famous words of Cat Stevens, “baby, it’s a wild world,” so sometimes we need to laugh to get through it. Parody and humorous commentary on today’s media give us all an opportunity to relax and review. But, in the process, the possibility to take away and retain a real message does exist.


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