“Meme Culture” is Minimizing Original Humor, but That’s Not Original

Memes have become one of the most popular and commonly viewed forms of comedy, and that is affecting what is funny. Above that, it is affecting originality in humor.

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Next time you log onto your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Take a peek at what the content you are viewing really is. The next meme you see, is it original? Have you seen the graphic being used before for something else? Same words from somewhere else?  Memes have become one of the most popular and commonly viewed forms of comedy, and that is affecting what is funny. Above that, it is affecting originality in humor.

When we use social media we are making a public journal attached to us. And it will last forever. Or it could anyway, depending on what you say and how fast you delete what you said. But in reality, virtually all you really want is some recognition for something you post. When you share a meme, it’s content you are sharing because you think it’s funny or relates to you. And you feel even more validated by your thoughts when you get a “Like” or someone “Haha” emoticons whatever it may be. However, it’s rare that something that gets liked is original, or created by the person who shared it, so while the validation feels good, it may be less validating than getting no likes at all.

I could see where this seems a little dramatic, but hear this thought out. The more people share memes, the more people laugh at the same thing, the less originality in humor we see. One example of this is when people say, “ME!” while witnessing a situation that they apply to their personality or behaviors. It seems every video of a person tripping over nothing is littered with comments likes this, “@(insert best friend till the end name here) OMG ME, US! (CRY FACE EMOJI).” Being funny is now as simple as a pronoun. Or how about the saying, “When this happens and you do this…” followed by a video.  It’s recycled humor that people go to again and again for shares, validation, and seemingly less than intellectual humor. Punchlines are pictures and videos, while the set-up is short and can be written by anyone.

As the humans on Earth become more literate, and it’s as easy as hitting the send button to communicate and transcend any distance with nearly everyone, it may have been expected that we see more thoughts and originality but we seem to do the opposite. Social media has replaced individual research. Witness unoriginal thoughts in every meme, every comment. We are in the age of recycled humor. Take a shot and create something novel, say something others might not laugh at. It’s better than getting a laugh from plagiarized memes.

All of these thoughts have led me to have a very strong appreciation for stand-up comedy. Stand-up is the best medium for original thoughts from people who are actually funny. This and podcasts. So if you stuck with me through this first post, stick with me for more. We are going to talk about comedy, being original, and review acts from some of the best comedians today. I’m going to devote time to consuming comedy in all forms, and from everywhere.


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