Call the Show 800-520-1234
LIVE: Mon-Fri, 6-9AM, ET
Hugh Hewitt Book Club
Call 800-520-1234 email Email Hugh
Hugh Hewitt Book Club

The Thing About Insult Humor…

Email Email Print

…Is it is about the wit, not the insult.  For the uninformed (Michelle Wolf) here is the definition of “wit”:

1     a mindmemory
       b reasoning power intelligence

2     a sense 2a usually used in plural

  • alone and warming his five wits, the white owl in the belfry sits
  •  —Alfred Tennyson
       b  (1) mental soundness sanity usually used in plural 
           (2) mental capability and resourcefulness ingenuity
3     a astuteness of perception or judgment acumen
       b the ability to relate seemingly disparate things so as to illuminate or amuse
       c   (1) a talent for banter or persiflage 
            (2) a witty utterance or exchange
       d clever or apt humor
4     a a person of superior intellect thinker
       b an imaginatively perceptive and articulate individual especially skilled in banter or persiflage

Additionally, insult humor only works when delivered with genuine affection.  (Please note I said “affection,” not “agreement” and pay very close attention to the adjective.)  When it comes with a mean spirit it is just ugly, tasteless, and not funny.

Oh, and one other thing – profanity is not a punch line and laughter can be a way to disguise discomfort at tastelessness.

I am not a prude.  I can still, decades later, recite George Carlin’s bits on the s*word and the “Seven words you can never say on television” (which you now can) from heart.  They were actually witty.  I do not automatically find attempts at humor containing profanity or referencing the unmentionable unfunny, but if you are going to use them you need to build the joke around them, not use them for the cheap laugh.


Listen Commercial FREE  |  On-Demand
Login Join
Book Hugh Hewitt as a speaker for your meeting

Follow Hugh Hewitt

Listen to the show on your amazon echo devices

The Hugh Hewitt Show - Mobile App

Download from App Store Get it on Google play
Friends and Allies of Rome