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Late Night: Jokes vs. Non-Jokes

Continuing on a theme started over at my home base, let’s talk some about this pervasive belief that being a total jerkoff is automatically hilarious because it’s offensive and “un-PC” and other such nonsense.

The following things are not jokes:

Mean statements that don’t make anybody think about anything other than how you’re kind of an asshole.

Stories you told that you thought would be okay to tell because you thought everyone in the room agreed with you already, only to find out that no, they didn’t.

Stuff you didn’t mean to say out loud.

Stuff you didn’t mean to say where anybody would overhear you.

Stuff you said because you were pissed off at somebody else.

Stuff you said to shut somebody up or shame somebody into changing his or her behavior.

None of these things are jokes, so telling somebody pissed off by one of them that the answer is to learn to take a joke doesn’t apply.


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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.