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I admire your candor. And before I continue, I agree that MLH overreacted when they expelled you and Tommy over a joke. A warning would have sufficed.

But honestly, I think Tommy’s joke was funnier than yours.

When you make a joke about a recent event, it has to make sense in the context of that event.

Tommy’s comment, “my clock is the bomb,” was funny because it made fun of the authorities’ bad judgment in mistaking Ahmed’s clock for a bomb:

What it is: a clock
What people think it is: a bomb

Your joke, “We’re building a bomb actually. Looks just like a clock though,” inverts reality by suggesting that Ahmed’s clock was actually a bomb, rather than the other way around:

What people think it is: a clock
What it is: a bomb

Seeing a lot of jokes about Ahmed on HH Cirque du Twerque recently, including two that I didn’t like, has prompted me to think about what kinds of jokes are funny. Traditionally, jokes that criticize people in power (especially religious and political authorities) and their logic have formed the backbone of satire. If you flip these jokes over so that they instead victimize the disadvantaged, they’re not funny anymore — they hurt.

In the context of what went down in Texas, your joke sounds like it supports Ahmed’s arrest and suspension. However, I’ll assume that you meant well but failed to deliver the joke properly.

I’m not going to pass judgment on the nine people who ‘liked’ your joke. Maybe they have a different sense of humor than mine. The above is my take on what makes a joke funny, and mine alone.

In conclusion, satire is great. Jokes about tech news totally belong at a hackathon. But delivery is key.

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