How To Apologize For A Bad Joke
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The answers I received will help you think before you speak and provide tips for both apologizing for a joke and telling the person that you sincerely apologize for your joke.
Are you the comedian telling the joke and should you apologize for it? If you are, here are your three top tips for an effective apology.
More often than not, I’ll hear comedians apologize for their jokes:
“I know I shouldn’t have said that joke.”
“That was rude.”
I think the first two are obvious. The third tip may be the most overlooked and the most important. But I’ll admit that I’m not a perfect talker.
Let me walk you through three very good apologies from comedian Kate Micucci, who talks openly about her struggles with body image and how she became the comedian she is today.
Let’s start with a confession:
I have a never-ending obsession with being thin.
While that sounds selfish, it’s not.
When my twin sister and I were five years old, we developed a morbid fascination with an elderly woman in our town who was perpetually angry, eating toast and screaming at her family members. It was hard to stop.
Looking back, I know it wasn’t normal, but I can’t tell you how many times we sat in the basement of our house and watched her as she cried and yelled at her family members.
Since she was constantly screaming and swearing, my twin sister and I had a hard time explaining why we were fascinated with her.
After months of “trying to be normal” with our friends, my mom noticed our interest in this elderly lady and took us to an eye doctor.
He diagnosed us with a disorder of the visual cortex, one that made us more sensitive to everything in front of us.
The eye doctor explained to my mom that, according to him, we had the power to see the world more clearly than others and that this was why we were drawn to this woman.
At the time, I didn’t know what this meant. And when I heard my mom explain the story to my twin sister, I felt less powerful than her.
Now, as a comedian, I understand the frustrations behind what my mom said.
When it comes to writing jokes or telling jokes onstage, there is a fine line between being provocative and being too offensive.
But is that line too thin to cross?
It is a fine line. And I think comedians are often held to a higher standard of not crossing it. We’re expected to write jokes that are clever, funny, and clever, and we’re judged if we cross the line.
I agree that we should not cross the line. But I think we’re all guilty of crossing it.
In an industry that is rife with controversy, jokes are often one of the most polarizing topics that comedians address.
But what if we made a conscious effort not to cross the line, and to put more consideration into how we present ourselves to the public?
When I think about that old lady, I think about how many times I’ve joked about being fat or about the ridiculous things people do when they’re fat.
I’ve joked that if my mom saw me now, she’d die, and my grandmother would probably sleep with the murderer because he’s her favorite.
This doesn’t make me the Queen of Comedy. But I recognize that the people I’ve joked about are a minority.
They’re people who’ve dealt with their weight or issues around food for a long time.
They deserve a break. And it’s selfish of me to keep making fun of them.
Accept that you’re still making jokes about people who are actually overweight or suffer from eating disorders or self-esteem issues
Stop being shocked when people want to hug you when you do that. In my comedy, I joke about fat people, and I joke about my grandmother’s death, and I joke about my grandmother sleeping with my ex-boyfriend’s dad.
All of these are topics I’ve grappled with and struggled with my whole life.
Whether it’s true or not, it’s natural for people to want to comfort or take care of a person in distress. So, I understand if people want to hug me when I’m on stage.
Plus, I’ve written thousands of jokes about myself and my family members, and they’re all really true.
I’m just done joking about being fat, and I’m done joking about my grandmother’s death, and I’m done joking about the death of my ex-boyfriend’s dad.
Even if it’s true, I don’t want to make fun of it anymore.
In the early days of my comedy career, I had an over-inflated ego. It didn’t really feel like an accomplishment when I’d perform at open mics.
I’d perform for an hour, and when I got offstage, I would feel like I’d done something amazing.
Over the last six years, I’ve come to understand that comedy is a craft.
A fine art. A sport. Some people do it for a living, and it’s not easy.
To get to the level I’m at now, I have to practice every day for about eight hours. I watch other comedians, and I immerse myself in their shows.