In this travelogue, I’ve explored ways the internet-facilitated humor builds communities and draws people together across boundaries they might not usually cross. I’ve showed ways in which internet humor is invading the offline world. And I’ve also discussed networked features of humor on the internet (multidirectional communication, informality, chatter, and lingering distribution).
But I still haven’t answered the big question: “is the internet making us funnier?”.
If we’re only talking about quantity and speed, then sure. Online, we can easily create and share humor, and we can do it really really quickly!
But qualitatively funnier? In the real world? Maybe I could begin to answer this question if I had hours and months and years to do a content analysis of sitcoms or movies or standup comedy or books over the decades.
But honestly, I think the answer is no. When it comes down to it, people are still making the same kind of jokes, they’re just finding new ways to share and comment upon them. I think this video from the Library of Congress makes my point.
Guys! People have been messing with cats since at least the 1880s! Which is when this video was made. Seriously.
I’d also like to mention: while there’s a ton of stuff that’s funny out there on the internet, there’s a lot of content that really, really isn’t. In some simplistic way, wouldn’t funny and unfunny create a counterbalance to one another?
Anyway, in an effort to create make something funnier, by building upon something that’s already out there, and then distribute it far and wide using, check out this hilarious video uploaded onto youtube, a source of networked comedy!