Some days, it feels like we’re in an arms race of stupid, as is the case when Dane Cook decides that the timing is right to pull this joke in response to the shootings at The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado:
So I heard that the guy came into the theater about 25 minutes into the movie. And I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, but the movie is pretty much a piece of crap. Yea, spoiler alert. I know that if none of that would have happened, pretty sure that somebody in that theater, about 25 minutes in, realizing it was a piece of crap, was probably like ‘ugh fucking shoot me.
There is, in fact, a point to be made about the extent to which images of gun violence are integrated into our culture, and the degree to which we’ve become callous about the prospect of shootings. But I’m not sure that this routine really conveys the horror of that disconnect between our everyday conversation and our reaction when the things we joke about become real. There’s a strain of comedy that relies on the people who stories are told about believing in things no one would ever believe, or reacting in ways actual humans would never react, whether it’s a disgruntled moviegoer wanting someone to end it all for them, or Daniel Tosh’s joke involving his sister thinking it’s hilarious that a prank he played on her left her unable to defend herself from a rapist. Jokes like that tend to reveal more about how the people telling them see the world than about the actual foibles and hypocrisies of their targets.