If you find yourself laughing at these kinds of jokes, that doesn’t make you an insensitive asshole but a smart person.
A man walks into a rooftop bar and takes a seat next to another guy. “What are you drinking?” he asks the guy.
“Magic beer,” he says.
“Oh, yeah? What’s so magical about it?”
Then he shows him: He swigs some beer, dives off the roof, flies around the building, then finally returns to his seat with a triumphant smile.
“Amazing!” the man says. “Lemme try some of that!” The man grabs the beer. He downs it, leaps off the roof —and plummets 15 stories to the ground.
The bartender shakes his head. “You know, you’re a real jerk when you’re drunk, Superman.”
Before we try to see if the man was alive after his fall, was the joke funny to you. Okay to put your mind at ease, maybe some guy had a trampoline outside waiting to catch the falling man. But again I would ask if the joke made you laugh. We’re you disgusted by the cruelty of the joke or did you somehow experience both?
A new scientific finding is suggesting that your reaction towards dark jokes could indicate your level of intelligence. This paper which was published in the Journal of Cognitive Processing goes on to say that people who laughed at dark jokes such as those that incorporate the cruelty of disease, handicap, war, and death, had higher IQs compared to who were highly distressed by it. Remember that these jokes turn disastrous and tragic events into humor and it makes light of those situations.
To do an experiment that tests the link between humor and intelligence, scientists had about 156 males and females volunteers to read 12 dark cartoons from the black book that was written by Uli Stein, a German cartoonist.
One of the jokes was a paraphrased version of the known joke of the mortician search deep for something in the cadaver. And the nurse saying that the autopsy was finished and that he was only looking for wrist watch.
Now, the volunteers were asked if they first understood the joke and then if the found the dark joke funny. And then they took some basic IQ tests and also answered questions crafted to find out about their aggression levels and their educational backgrounds and aggressive tendencies.
The results were shocking consistent. Those who understood and enjoyed the dark jokes were shown to have higher IQ levels and also said that they had lower levels of aggression compared to volunteers that were the opposite. In fact, those volunteers that disliked the humor and showed their disgust ended up having higher levels of aggression and had lower IQ. They were also known to have more depressing or darker moods as compared to the others. This supports the well-known study on the advantages of smiling and laughing. So if you can’t have some healthy dose of positivity while facing tough negative challenges, then it is no wonder that you will feel worse than someone who did.
But then some would say, how does this correlate to intelligence? Well, the scientists that were in charge of this project say that processing dark jokes does require more mental effort to decipher them. The mental effort was higher than that of other simple jokes. Processing darker jokes are “a complex information-processing task” that requires parsing multiple layers of meaning, and at the same time emotionally distancing one cruelty of the content in such a way that the contents of the dark jokes are perceived as light as compared to what they truly are – grave and tragic events.
That whole emotional process all helps to distinguish dark jokes from all its counterparts in the genre. For example, puns just try to make the right side and the left side of your brain clash as you try to decipher the multiple and often coded meaning of individual words in the joke. But with dark jokes, you have to get out of your emotional and sometimes moral frame to enjoy the true essence of the joke.
Tina Fey puts it best when she says “If you want to make an audience laugh, you dress a man up like an old lady and push her down the stairs. If you want to make comedy writers laugh, you push an actual old lady down the stairs.”
This all comes down to the fact that any good joke pretty much relies on wordplay to make you use brain work to ‘get it’. But with dark jokes, you would have to sacrifice some emotion and morals at the altar of appreciating the dark joke. Try to give your brain some exercise or stretch by getting a hand on these dark jokes that have been scientifically proven to make people smarter.
If you want to do this, then you could try your humor intellect by checking the following dark jokes out. They are an excerpt from the Reader’s Digest comedy crypt.
• “‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I apologize’ mean the same thing. Except at a funeral.” —Demetri Martin
• Q: What has four legs and one arm?
A: A happy pit bull.
• “Cats have nine lives. Makes them ideal for experimentation.” —Jimmy Carr
• Q: Why don’t cannibals eat clowns?
A: Because they taste funny.
• “I have a vest. If I had my arms cut off, it would be a jacket.” —Mitch Hedberg
• Q: What did Kermit the frog say at Jim Henson’s funeral?
• “If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.” —Steven Wright
Crack your ribs…