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Comedy Is In The Unexpected

A little about what makes me laugh

By Mohammed DarasiPublished 7 months ago 4 min read
Comedy Is In The Unexpected
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

So, it has been a long time since I laughed uncontrollably but just yesterday, I had a laugh that almost had me dying of asphyxiation (for the sake of humanity, I hope that we all know that laugh). I was laughing so hard that I literally couldn’t breathe in for about 2 seconds. My neck veins were popping, and even my stomach started hurting from the excessive laughter.

Just to be clear, this doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, I love it. My favourite genre of entertainment in general is comedy; movies and TV shows or anything else. Even when it comes to social media, I almost purely use it for funny videos (Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook). I love laughing, what can I say.

There has been a video trend in social media where a girl would position her phone against a wall (or something like that) and then steps back to pose for the picture. As she steps back, she bumps into someone, and then a quick montage plays showing them having a full relationship, getting married, and then having kids. Of course, as videos trend, so do parody versions of them.

The video my friend sent to me was different than the usual parodies of this video that I had seen. The video starts with the woman positioning her phone and as she steps back, she bumps into a man walking ‘randomly’. What you would expect is a montage of them getting into a relationship, marrying, and then having kids right? Nope. What you see is a quick reaction from the guy who wraps his arms around the girl and performs a WWE-worthy Suplex that would make Brock Lesner proud.

Of course, that is an extreme overreaction to someone bumping into you accidentally, but obviously, that was the joke. (It was all staged with matted floors, so no one was hurt)

After I calmed down, I started thinking about why that videos made me laugh so much, because objectively, it shouldn't have. I think what really got me in this video was the unexpected nature of the joke. And then I realised that this is at the heart of comedy. Usually, if we can see the joke coming before it’s delivered, it's not as funny when it lands.

I’ve watched so many stand-up comedies and the best stand-up comedians are usually great storytellers who weave in unexpected jokes. I rewatched Dave Chappelle’s “For What It’s Worth” stand-up recently so I’ll give a few examples from that. Explaining jokes obviously makes them unfunny, so please watch the clips before reading each section (and getting bored):

Viewer discretion advised for the clips (particularly the first one).

Near the beginning of the stand-up, Dave mentions that he was recently on a bus that was held hostage. Of course, that is not funny at all but, after a short moment of silence, he says “… it was a dude jerking off, but the shit was scary son!” and of course, everyone cracked up laughing. He managed to make a serious situation funny with that short line.

He was telling a story when he met a tribe of Native Americans who invited him to join them in a “peace pipe smoking” ritual. He then later described the scene with everyone sitting down beating drums. He described how they brought a blanket and when they opened it, there was a pipe and bags of weed everywhere. And then the chief came over and, after a short dramatic pause, he said “The little ones are $50, the big ones are $75…”. The whole setting was making us imagine a spiritual ritual, but it was quickly flipped into a simple drug deal which was unexpected and hilarious.

Another one from the same segment of the stand-up. After they perform the ritual, it is late so they let Dave stay with them among the tribe for the night. Dave said they gave him his own Tipi to sleep in, which is a tent. He continues on saying “…which sounds nice, but I personally thought it was fucked up… because they all had houses…”. Of course, we logically know that native Americans don’t still live in Tipis, but it wasn’t too much of a surprise because of how casually he mentioned it, and the stereotypical image we all have of native Americans. When he then clarifies it by saying that they all had houses, it kind of wakes us up from the stereotypical thinking and back to reality in an unexpected way.

He talks about going to Disney World with his kids. He was very famous at the time because of his “Chappelle’s Show”. As he walked through the park, people were quoting the famous line “I’m Rick James, Bitch!” from his show, including Mickey Mouse! Eventually, Dave couldn’t take it and punched Mickey Mouse and knocked the costume head off. Everyone was screaming “Oh my god! Oh my god!” of course you’d think they were worried because someone was punched, but no. “oh my god! Oh my god... Mickey Mouse is Mexican!”.

Keep in mind that this stand-up was from 2004, so some of these jokes might be dated, and some might find them offensive.

I rambled on a little too much there, but my whole point was that I think really good comedy (even just telling a joke) relies on unexpected outcomes that can shock us. I don’t even know why I’m writing this piece honestly, maybe I just wanted to share some of the funny jokes in Dave Chappelle’s stand-up… I don’t know.

AAAAnyway. Every now and then, we should all have that one moment that has us laughing with our whole body… it will help us relax.


About the Creator

Mohammed Darasi

I write fiction, poetry and occasional articles about interesting topics. I recently created a website (just because) which I will be posting my writing in (among other things). it would be great if you check it out.

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Comments (4)

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  • Donna Fox (HKB)7 months ago

    I love this Mohammed! Everyone loves to laugh and I love that you have indicated a key ingredient for the recipe that makes you laugh!! The unexpected is always a great one!! I like the exampled with such a classic comedian (Dave Chappelle), I can see how the videos might be a bit dated but I also think that's what makes it a classic! It's untampered with!

  • I agree with Donna! Those parodies are great but I've not watched the one you've mentioned here. I'm into dark humour so what I find funny is often very disturbing for people, lol!

  • Donna Renee7 months ago

    Those montage video parodies are pretty great 🤣 I haven’t seen the one you mentioned though!

  • Lamar Wiggins7 months ago

    😂😂😂 I love Dave Chappell. I remember when he took a break from his career, people were really upset but wished him well. This was definitely worth the read and write. Thanks for the laughs.

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