Cackle Forever After
Apropos of innovations in the memeosphere
Why the hell am I laughing at this? Signs of life from the meme frontier. It’s been a while since I saw serious meme innovation, but I’m happy to report that new forms are emerging, and I like what I’m seeing. Just don’t ask me why, because honestly, they’re total trash. But they’re trash in the best kind of way… so trash that you know they’re trash on purpose. No one could create something so profoundly stupid on accident. It’s artful trash, ingenious garbage. Observe:
Could anything possibly be less funny than this? It’s kind of hard to imagine, but the competition is fierce:
I don’t quite know what this new form is, but these are all Of A Kind. If you’re not entertained by them, then… that’s probably a sign of sanity, because like I’ve said, they’re decidedly awful. But come on, that last one is at least a little funny.
Anyway, my friend and I have been sending these back and forth for a few weeks now, and, precisely because I both find the memes hilarious and am vividly aware of just how unfunny they truly are, I’ve started questioning the entire idea of humor. Why — I’ve repeatedly been asking myself — the hell am I laughing at this?
Exploding onions and tequila spritzers. If I want to understand something about humor, I figure it might be useful to start by reflecting on the times I’ve laughed the hardest…
Once, when I was ten and screwing around unsupervised with my friend, he threw half of an onion into his grandparents’ living room ceiling fan. The fan was on high, and one of its blades caught the onion just right, launching it at the wall above the couch, where it erupted into a cloud of onion-mist, leaving the paint plastered with pulp and juice streams running down onto the hardwood floor. I’m not sure it’s possible to laugh harder than I did when I saw that — you know, one of those deep-belly cackles released from some strange chamber buried way down in your gullet. A laugh that makes you feel like you’re possessed. You lose all control of yourself, and sounds come out of you that you’ve never heard before, and you can’t breathe and you’re in pain, but you don’t want it to stop.
I distinctly remember feeling possessed by laughter like that on another occasion approximately ten years later. My roommate — the friend who’s been sending me these memes for the past few weeks — and I were sophomores in college, and we had invited over two of our freshman year acquaintances for tequila spritzers. We barely knew them and, well, it wasn’t a great time. We were pretty uncomfortable all night. Then, something happened that changed our lives forever. One of our acquaintances, we’ll call her Momo, walked from the living room into the kitchen to whip herself up another tequila spritzer. The kitchen, you see, was elevated from the living room by a single step. On her way back to the living room, Momo stumbled — ever so slightly — down that single step. As she did so, she cried out “woah!” in a tone that was entirely unremarkable, and then she exclaimed “I’m on tequila!” rather mundanely. My friend and I exchanged glances, and the evening droned on, and eventually Momo and her friend left, and the rest was history.