Understanding Jokes during the Pademic
In recent times, comedy/jokes either in terms of stand-up, television shows, movies, and the like have increased. The modified version of jokes termed Memes have become the trend in the last 2-3 years. In this scenario, if we are to name the year 2020 as the Year of Memes; it would not be wrong. People prefer to watch a variety of shows about the genre of comedy depicting a slice of life. Black comedies or in other words showing serious life situations in a laughable, entertaining way have captured peoples’ imaginations; thus popularizing small-budget movies with real-life scenarios. In the current times of stress and over-productivity, people often seek such outlets which can not only relax them but also allow them to spend quality time with family and friends in an interesting and fun way. Laughing as an activity is not just good for one’s physical health but it also helps in energizing the mental faculties, refreshes oneself to the core of one’s being and this increases double-fold when done in the company of friends and family.
Jokes have a special place in the field of psychoanalysis. In his book ‘The Psychopathology of Everyday Life’, Sigmund Freud has illustrated in his signature style how jokes along with other everyday life realities such as slips of tongue actually are outlets for our unconscious mind to express itself. Such indirect forms of conversation help the individual process his/her innermost conflicting thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs in a manner that has the least damage for the society but at the same time relieves the individual of the guilt of keeping it all in. The year 2020 proves to be an excellent example of this.
While the last two years started a trend of making memes out of the most bizarre situations of life; the year 2020 in itself became the butt of jokes in many ways. It was the most difficult and yet the most bizarre year of our lives and indeed we should thank god for able to survive this disastrous year thanks to the presence of our loved ones and memes!!! The year indeed started with a new year meme, the second day of January providing a new one, then the third day, and so on. But the sudden change in lifestyle brought about in our lives from March onwards really tested everyone’s limits and indeed brought out the creative side of people during the pandemic and lockdown period. Memes became a space for everyone to vent out their strong extreme feelings on the events that were occurring and it was a cathartic space for those who were relishing and relating those memes to themselves.
Right from the famous Ananya Pandey’s struggle story to Siddhanth Chaturvedi’s classic reply on the same; the famous Rasode Song to a mirage of viral videos, the tsunami of memes on Corona and the countries response towards the same; and finally the year ending with memes on organizing a world cup between the various mutating corona variants; we have seen it all.
But how can we understand this tsunami of memes and the sudden obsession of people towards it? The answer is yet again the same. The creation of memes and the indulgence in the same by the wide audience became a space for everyone to process the difficult feelings about the situation everyone was thrown into. Life had come to a standstill with people left only with the solace of spending time with family. Others could not even be with their families and had to be alone in such frightening times. In such difficult times, it was the comedy shows on Television, comedy films, various viral videos on social media that came to the rescue of people. Making jokes, listening to jokes, laughing at them became a coping mechanism for all of us. Laughing is considered a yoga exercise and imagine how stressful current times might have become for people to get hooked to their television sets and phones (social media) engaging in comedy shows, memes, and viral videos.