January 15, 2022

For you, does it make a joke better or worse if someone explains it?

Personally, I love it. If I didn’t get the joke in the first place, then it makes me feel included. But even if I got the joke, analyzing its mechanism gives me new insight into how humor works, and thus how brains work.

Many people feel the opposite, though. Many people feel it kills the joke.

They might even feel offended, because in neurotypical culture, a joke that requires explanation is a bad joke.

In my view, the longer the explanation, the better the joke. If “let me tell you why I find this funny” launches an hour-long discussion of the history of the Roman empire, then I take that as evidence of clever nuance and comic genius.

In autistic culture, analysis doesn’t kill a joke – it brings it to life.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.