Whale Joke

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Diglot, Manhattan, Places

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QDQ3-UEdq8″Whale Joke” is exploring the language of comedy as the same “Whale” joke is told by different people.  New York is a haven for comedy of all types, but is very famous for it’s stand up scene.  I decided to play with the normal feel of a stand up lounge (brick wall, person standing alone facing the audience . . .) but instead using joke that has very little to do with actual words.  I like the fact that everybody can tell a joke, but the way a joke is told and recieved is all in the expression that is used in telling it/ hearing it.  This joke contains very few words so the language is completely dependent on the way the joke is expressed and interpreted.

As each person expresses the same joke in a different way, the language of the joke changes with each person’s interpretation of the joke.

Not only is the joke teller expressing the joke in a different individual “language” but every audience member understands it in a different way. For example, one audience member might find the very first person to tell the joke  hilarious, while another audience member might find someone else later on in the sequence to be funnier.  The receiving/”understanding” of the joke is completely based on the persons preference.  Do they think it is funnier based on Gender?  Age?  Vocal pitch? Facial movement?  Timing in which the telling occurs in the sequence?  There are so many factors that a person never considers that go into enjoying a simple joke, but each factor is like another personal language that needs to be interpreted so that the humor is registered.

Humor is a languages that changes with each person involved in the interaction.

1 thought on “Whale Joke”

  1. I experienced this DIGLOT piece as an expanded meditation on the Doctor Doolittle phenomenon, a way for us to think about a language as music and a mode of communication btwn humans and btwn humans and animals. In the context of the mass appeal of humor, the presence of comedy clubs in NYC, I enjoyed seeing the playfulness of each of your participants. They seemed to represent a cross section of city life and to approach your challenge with zest and earnestness.

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