What it Means to be an Unfunny Person in the Age of Stand-ups and Comedy Specials

POV

What it Means to be an Unfunny Person in the Age of Stand-ups and Comedy Specials

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

I

was a Class VII student when I narrated my first “joke” in front of an audience accidentally. I was in a tight spot – I hadn’t done my homework; the teacher had a cane ready and I was scared. But instead of blurting out a well-rehearsed sob story about my non-existent sick puppy, I nervously commented “Ma’am, I wasn’t writing history because I was making history for the number of hours one can sleep.”

It’s a terrible joke, yes, but the 12-year-old me thought otherwise. I was waiting for the cane to land on my hand, but my quip was enough to make my teacher smile. On cue, the class erupted in a giggle and the tension eased.

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