Can humour ever be serious?

YES: Humour can be expressed or delivered with serious intention and content when it is perceived and utilized as a suitable platform to communicate serious societal matters to society and stakeholders.

  1. Politicians may utilize humour in their endeavors to convey either policy or ideological matters more effectively to the public.

  2. The mass media may utilize humour through various platforms to provoke audiences and readers into deeper reflection on contemporary political and social issues.

  3. Humour may be utilized by its practitioners to draw insights into the cultural beliefs, practices and idiosyncrasies of their own societies, often in a self-deprecating and ironic manner that both entertains and invites self-reflection.

  4. Occasionally, practitioners of the Arts may utilize humour in either linguistic or visual forms to provide deeply philosophical insights, thereby enriching our appreciation of the human condition.

NO: The nature of humour in its various forms and practices revolves around making light of subject matter, making it unsuitable to communicating serious societal matters to society and stakeholders.    

  1. Leaders in positions of power and influence may occasionally use humour that is in poor taste, thereby trivializing or even sabotaging the dignity of their office.

  2. A large proportion of humour delivered by the mass media is often limited to the task of entertaining the masses through highly absurd or exaggerated language and action, with little or at best accidental value as political or social commentary.

  3. Humour may be utilized by its practitioners to merely entertain through the use of well-known stereotypes or established themes, thereby reinforcing our comfortable worldviews towards societal institutions and practices rather than provoking us into questioning or reflecting on them.