Death of a Joke
A window into a joke’s funeral
“We are all gathered here today to mourn the death of joke; I am not going to lie to you — joke did not have a celebrated life; maybe a celibate one, but certainly not a celebrated one”
He pauses and looks around the funeral for a few nervous smiles and chuckles; all he could find were eyes staring at the ground and silence — not something he was necessarily familiar with.
“Why did I not get a laugh for the tastefully crafted punchline? Is it too insensitive? Should I move on? Alright”
He had nothing to add to that. All he could do was hope that one of the attendees on their drive back home would think about his carefully crafted punchline and chuckle.
“I am going to read the last few lines from joke’s memoir”
“Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.”
At this point, people at the funeral weren’t sure if they were at the funeral for a frog or for joke, but the confusion was put behind, after the idea of an analogy was explained to them.
“Did joke really die? Or, was it just lobotomized in the process of telling one?”
The attendees were shocked by this statement. They were all under the assumption that joke never really worked because it lacked charm and it wouldn’t connect with anyone. But could he be right? Did the joke only die because people killed the joke?
“From paper to stage, joke was confident, joke thought it could connect with people who were put in front of joke, but joke could not have been more wrong.”
By this point, people weren’t sure why they were made to wait at a funeral where the rituals included rewriting joke and delivering it differently. That’s when they realized, joke wasn’t really dead. It was the frog that was dead!
“Does that mean joke is still alive?”
Apologies, I made a mistake. I confused the analogy again. Joke is still dead. The frog does not exist.
“That’s a terrible thing to do. You know the kind of effort I had to put in to break the fourth wall and communicate with you? Don’t answer that; it was rhetorical”
By the time the banter between the person reading joke’s eulogy and the narrator had taken place, most of the attendees at the funeral had left. Only the frog stayed back to pay his respects to joke.
“Why are you still here Mr.Frog?”
The frog responded, “When I am dissected, I die. When joke was dissected, he did not die; he was reborn”
“Are you saying that’s a bad analogy then?”
Frog quickly retorts: “No, not at all. I was just saying something nice.”
“But, what was the joke?”
Joke could have survived if the people around it had not dissected it even after it was clearly barged to death. But after the eulogizer’s poignant but inquisitive question, there was no chance that joke would survive.
Rest in Peace, Joke.