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WARNING: This article contains strong language and jokes that may be considered offensive (seriously, it gets quite fruity). Rebecca Brynolf looks at taboo humour and asks why certain subjects are just untouch- able.

we’ve probably all done it at some point. It’s the big belly laugh “HAHA…” followed by a verbal finger wag- ging in the form of an “… oooooooooh”.


It’s that moment when a room full of people have had the collective gut reaction to laugh, but a split second later have remembered that, yes, they are in fact in a room full of other people. Their morals suddenly kick in so they groan or suck air through their teeth. It’s a two-part knee jerk reaction that we all experience oc- casionally; you laugh because a joke is clever or funny, or appeals to the immature child in you, you then

here’s a particularly great reaction to an offensive joke at a comedy night. We’ve all heard it and

attempt to withdraw the laugh by making some kind of noise to show everyone that, “Actually, no, I don’t find that kind of thing funny. I’m offended.” Quite of- ten there’s still a smile on people’s faces; they’re still there to have a good time and they can see that it’s all just a bit of fun, but there’s the underlying sense that a nerve has been hit.

But why are you offended?

Did the joke make fun of you personally? Did it poke at something that you have personal experience with? Was it in poor taste? Was it just not funny and a bit of an insult to your intelligence? Was it patronising because it seemed to have been said for the sake of being shocking?

I’ve told offensive jokes that had no point to them on stage. They weren’t clever, and in hindsight, they weren’t very funny at all. If anything they was just mean and picking on people who couldn’t defend themselves. The “jokes” got laughs, followed swiftly by the withdrawal noise. Looking back I think the audience were just shocked to hear the words com- Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36
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