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How soon is too soon to joke?

By From page A2 | January 12, 2014

I don’t want to offend people, so my rule of thumb is to wait a suitable time on jokes – to avoid being the guy who makes a gag about a natural disaster and then finds out that someone whose child was hurt by it is standing next to me.

I don’t want them to get mad. They might have a meltdown worse than Fukushima.

Too soon? Maybe.

So I wait – and despite a recent study that indicates that jokes are safe to tell about five weeks after a disaster, I will wait a little longer.

Because to not do so would be as dumb as being O.J. Simpson’s next girlfriend, am I right?

Is that too soon? That was 1992.

A recent study revealed the time frame for how funny we think jokes are about negative events: Fifteen days is too soon. Thirty-six days is OK. After 99, they start to go bad again.

It came from the University of Colorado and Texas A&M University. They studied the reaction of people to jokes about Hurricane Sandy as it prepared to hit, made landfall and after it was over.

The jokes probably weren’t as funny as the gag about when Bing Crosby had his fatal stroke on the golf course in 1977 – his playing partners made him count it! – but they were reasonably humorous.

The jokes were considered pretty funny before the hurricane hit. Once the damage became obvious, they stopped being funny. Fifteen days after landfall, the perception of humor in Hurricane Sandy jokes hit bottom. But then they rebounded and were considered funniest 36 days after it hit. They became less funny as time progressed.

They got less funny as time went by – like Carrot Top.

I supposed the time frame may change – for instance, 9/11 jokes weren’t very funny 36 days after the attacks, as we dealt with anthrax being sent in the mail and the invasion of Afghanistan, for instance. So someone who really cares about the subject might say this study really is only applicable to Hurricane Sandy jokes. So maybe the study is flawed.

In fact, you could make a case that the study was designed so badly, its architect was Frank Lloyd Wrong! Get it? You don’t? He was an architect who died in 1959.

Still, the study could save us some trouble. If it saves someone from offending others by telling one bad joke, it’s perhaps worthwhile – especially since bad jokes have caused more depression than anyone since Herbert Hoover, am I right?

Too soon for Depression jokes? OK, I’ll keep going back.

It’s interesting that the perception of whether something is funny goes down as time passes. And do you know what goes down well with ice? The Titanic.

Too soon? It’s been more than 100 years!

The university study didn’t identify whether things seemed funnier if the gags were told to a group of people, which seems important. Because one thing we can say about humor is that it’s often contagious. Or course, the same could be said for the Black Death, too. Am I right?

Still too soon? Anyone still around from the 14th century?

Since I don’t want to be offensive, I keep things a safe distance in history.

I don’t want to be like the ancient Egyptian who got run over while crossing the road.

He wanted to see his mummy.

Still too soon?

Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope is a former Daily Republic editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 24 years as a sports editor, associate editor and news editor before leaving the Daily Republic in 2014. Brad lives in Suisun City with his wife, Mrs. Brad, and two sons. He enjoys cheese.

Discussion | 10 comments

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  • Arthur LevinJanuary 12, 2014 - 8:22 am

    Stay out of prison in Nevada, Brad, or you just might BE O.J.'s next girlfriend.

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  • CD BrooksJanuary 12, 2014 - 8:44 am

    Hey Brad! I don't think time is an issue as much as the event itself. OJ is fair game anytime, stupidity has no waiting period!

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  • NFSD...Maybe HA you thought I was kidding http://www.drboylan.com/xplanes2.htmlJanuary 12, 2014 - 9:17 am

    Awhile back long long ago I said that "flying saucer" propulsion was primarily based on counter rotating magnetic torsion vortices with some kind of right angle force deflection insert...see reference and ignore all the talk about aliens...there are no aliens or alien craft....it is all just advanced manmade technology...very very expensive technology.........Now my point is this...If the Military Industrial Complex can do this, then I bet they really do have suppressed energy technologies that are superior to current day Solar and for example Wind Turbines that to me do not even seem to be designed to operate efficiently...You see so many wind turbines not even turning when the wind is blowing, as currently designed it seems to be designed to fail.

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  • Think about it the planet is spinning, rotating around the sun, sun in galaxy rotationJanuary 12, 2014 - 9:24 am

    Torsion essentially means “twisting” or “spiralling.” Thus, this is the action of torsion waves as they propagate through space—and it is also the action of static torsion fields. Torsion fields are generated by spin and/or by angular momentum; any object or particle that spins produces torsion waves and possesses its own unique torsion field. According to some, torsion waves are the missing link in the search for a final “theory of everything (TOE),” a unified field theory, or GUT (grand unified theory). Currently they cannot be reconciled with the established concept of a quantum wave as it stands in physical theory................... Since torsion fields influence spin states, one object’s torsion field can be changed by the influence or application of an external torsion field. “As a result of such an influence, the new configuration of the torsion field will be fixed as a metastable state (as a polarized state) and will remain intact even after the source of the external torsion field is moved to another area of space. Thus torsion fields of certain spatial configuration can be ‘recorded’ on any physical or biological object.”

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  • https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/JASON_Group.htmJanuary 12, 2014 - 9:59 am

    The JASON Group, MITRE and CIA-linked defense corporations ........,see and really at the top of the Control Pyramid there are no Secrets really among the very top scientists and planners......see all this is really very very expensive and the Luciferian Bankers fund it....They pass out such "secrets" as needed to keep us all fighting each other and countries plotting against each other.....Nothing is really secret all computer systems have back doors....Just as there is an ultimate Financial Dungeon Master.....there is an ultimate Technology Dungeon Master....and at one time an illuminati plot was to fake an alien invasion.

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  • And the Problem in the US people is this....Laci PanteesJanuary 12, 2014 - 10:26 am

    The Globalist (meaning dark corrupt people in each country of the world) spend lots of money figuring out how to kill people and keep us all fighting each other......But what we really need is for every country to be able to manufacture its own consumer goods and employ its own citizens and have Lacy Panties for everyone!

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  • LilJanuary 12, 2014 - 2:15 pm

    What does this have to do with telling jokes too soon after a disaster?

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  • Answer I needed a place to put it....January 12, 2014 - 2:52 pm

    My point is that there are BIG SECRETS....and the Top Politicians and Bankers lie to us....we are just SHEEPLE....they really do want to reduce the world population drastically...The Banking Industrial Complex spends huge amounts of money on Technology we do not need for making war, when we could just as easily use this technology for peaceful purposes.

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  • http://humansarefree.com/2011/09/anti-gravity-and-secret-space-program.htmlJanuary 12, 2014 - 2:58 pm

    Google...Anti-Gravity and the Secret Space Program [We Have 'Anti-Gravity humansarefree....or in General Google..XH-75D XH Shark antigravity helicopter...... I am assuming this is good info, but how would I know?....But never pay attention to the alien stuff, there are no aliens ( only aliens would be ones bioengineered on earth, by not from other space )

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  • Wikipedia Zero-point energyJanuary 12, 2014 - 3:22 pm

    If I understand correctly this is some kind of key to the anti-gravity (and also a concept in "free" energy production)..................Zero-point energy, also called quantum vacuum zero-point energy, is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical physical system may have; it is the energy of its ground state. All quantum mechanical systems undergo fluctuations even in their ground state and have an associated zero-point energy, a consequence of their wave-like nature. The uncertainty principle requires every physical system to have a zero-point energy greater than the minimum of its classical potential well. This results in motion even at absolute zero. For example, liquid helium does not freeze under atmospheric pressure at any temperature because of its zero-point energy....................... The concept of zero-point energy was developed in Germany by Albert Einstein and Otto Stern in 1913, as a corrective term added to a zero-grounded formula developed by Max Planck in 1900.[1][2] The term zero-point energy originates from the German Nullpunktsenergie.[1][2] An alternative form of the German term is Nullpunktenergie (without the "s")...................... Vacuum energy is the zero-point energy of all the fields in space, which in the Standard Model includes the electromagnetic field, other gauge fields, fermionic fields, and the Higgs field. It is the energy of the vacuum, which in quantum field theory is defined not as empty space but as the ground state of the fields. In cosmology, the vacuum energy is one possible explanation for the cosmological constant.[3] A related term is zero-point field, which is the lowest energy state of a particular field.[

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