Is dark humor all that serious or are we just too sensitive?


campus editor

To each their own” is something that many people say in the light of various subjects such as food, hobbies and even dark humor.

Dark humor is subjective. Where one would find something exceedingly hilarious, another person would find it deeply offensive. Ironically, it’s hilarious that people don’t understand that others perceive things differently and that people who get offended don’t understand people who make dark jokes.

Dark humor is unique and obviously not everyone understands another person’s humor. However, is it really fair to call someone sensitive because that person doesn’t appreciate a joke  considered offensive? Or is it a bit much to put a trigger warning on a dark joke? Will it take away the laughter?

If we put trigger warnings on jokes then do we put trigger warnings on everything? Mentioning a specific ice-cream shop, singing a song or using a laptop could trigger someone, but it’s a bit far-fetched to put a trigger warning on that because it’s something that people experience everyday. 

People’s trauma is a serious and daunting aspect, and they must be validated when they express their discomfort. But discomfort is subjective and almost impossible to detect. Insensitivity is also a problem for dark humor because it’s not like people are saying they’re uncomfortable for no reason. 

The solution to shielding people’s feelings is for people to have a warning sign somewhere in the tweet, video or message. 

I know that many people have disagreements on what to do, but that is only because it would avoid a person getting hurt or retraumatised. It will probably kill the joke and some people may think it’s over the top, but it’s necessary.

For the people who think that the warning sign is tacky and makes the joke less funny, I understand. It’s meant to be in the moment. Is it really that serious if they just scroll away or focus on something else when it is said spontaneously? In this case, yes.

It’s like remembering something you’ve tried a long time to forget, but as soon as someone jokes about it you crawl back into the mindset you were once in and remember everything. 

It may take them a few minutes to a few hours to adjust, but the point is that someone got hurt again. This doesn’t mean putting a warning on every joke that exists, because that’s just not feasible. But for something that could obviously trigger someone like domestic assault, rape, death or anything serious that some people like to joke about as a coping mechanism, it’s important to consider a warning signal or emoji.

I like dark humor too. In fact, I say multiple things about my life and trauma as well. However, I am careful about who I’m saying it to. I only say it to close friends and even if I wanted to post a video about it, I’ll  have a yellow triangle emoji with an exclamation point on it. 

Does it kill the joke a bit, yes. But it’s better than a triangle of arguments with the people that disagreed with you and thought that it was offensive.