Divorce is no laughing matter -or is it?

I usually take the view that humour can be found almost anywhere. In fact, I may suffer from what John Oliver has described (about himself) as a sociopathic need to make a joke whenever I think of one. Thankfully, I do have a filter. There are very few subjects that should never be joked about. There are some, but not many. Often it can be a matter of timing. When something ghastly has just happened, it may be too soon, but given it some time and bit of perspective and it can be very funny.

But not perhaps if you are the butt of the joke. Mrs Armstrong and I were recently watching the season finale of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. (It’s very good, check it out). There was a heart-breaking scene where the heroine’s estranged aspiring comedian husband discovers that his wife has secretly been developing a career as a stand-up comedienne, and worst of all, is much, much funnier than he is. After hearing some jokes about their marriage, he angrily storms out.

Ina case of life imitating art, or perhaps art imitating life, a real-life comedian is being sued by her ex-husband for defamation and breach of privacy, because she incorporated their divorce into her stand up routine. I won’t comment on the case as it has not yet been resolved and I am not an expert of the laws of defamation or privacy.

Now, I don’t think that divorce is something that you can never make jokes about. There are lots of very good divorce jokes:

A husband asked his wife what would you like for your birthday? She replied “A divorce”. The husband responded, “I hadn’t planned on spending that much.”

Or from the late great Bob Monkhouse “I could never get divorced. I love my house too much”.

Or from Robin Williams – “Divorce – from the Latin word meaning to extract your genitals through your wallet”.

I think those jokes are very funny, but care is needed about when you tell them. The key to comedy is timing.

26 February 2018

Comments are closed.