Humor During COVID: What’s So Funny About A Pandemic?

Tiara Starks, Entertainment Editor

COVID-19 has upended people’s lives, especially Gen Z’s. We’re supposedly the generation that lives on the Internet, which means we should know a thing or two about how to navigate the web through means of social, political, and cultural discourse. News regarding social media users and the uptick of internet privacy and safety precautions is nothing new, but it seems to take a back seat when people start to discuss what’s happening in their own lives.

People have taken to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, among many others, to relieve themselves of the stressfulness of the “new normal” which includes layoffs, school or college living adjustments, and the general mental strain that this pandemic has caused. There are people who might call the virus a hoax, but what is not a joke is the number of self-proclaimed Corona-comedians who are using their platforms to bring levity to the global situation.

Scrolling through social media, I see posts from strangers, as well as friends, who are using this time of uncertainty as a time for self-reflection, but that heavily depends on who the person is.

Junior communication major Shaylen Stancil said that Twitter user, @itskenyon tweeted,
“Pls tell me I’m not the only one that be talking to themselves behind their mask in public”
Stancil said that this was one of her favorites, “I didn’t realize that this is something that a lot of people did.”

Andrea Alverca, a junior majoring in communication said of a tweet from @HannahGraceLong, “Post-Corona, the last thing we would write at the beginning of an email would be someone’s health. Now that Corona has hit, health is the first thing everyone talks about. Everyone wants to make sure people are okay and staying safe when, before, we really wouldn’t care about someone’s well-being every second.”

Personally, I found this tweet funny from Twitter user, @sauxegawd_, “Keep posting y’all fresh cuts.. i’m putting together a slideshow for the Governor”. I think it’s amazing how many people are risking their health to go out during the pandemic just to get pampered.

Though, while it’s all fun and games at the moment, what could this mean for the future of humor in our generation? Are we destined to live in a society that values cynicism over genuine discourse? The pandemic is a real problem that’s affecting millions of people’s lives, whether they catch the virus or have a close family member, friend, or colleague that might. As someone who appreciates the power of comedy and how it can be used as a temporary coping mechanism in cases of trauma, such as the time we’re living in, it also makes me wonder how it will affect social discourse online in a post-COVID world.