Today I woke up and was immediately subjected to the following video:
This is your one spoiler warning: I will be discussing this video below this imaginary line.
Now I didn’t find this particularly funny, although it certainly has its moments, but I do patently disagree with the notion of this being “zoomer humor.” You see I recall being similarly inane as a child, as were my friends. This style of humor doesn’t “belong” to any one generation, it’s just the result of immaturity. To draw parallels to D&D I think there are two key stats required for good stand-up: naturally one would assume it requires Charisma, and that is true, but that only covers the performance art aspect of it. Great stand-up is built on good material, and that only comes from Wisdom. And so, largely lacking in wisdom, the younger generation is left to explore the other avenues of comedy to get their giggles.
Without wisdom there is a limit to how much one can engage in anecdotal comedy. For example: it’s hard to mock the institution of marriage when one hasn’t been married before. (Preferably several times for maximum impact.) - If you’ve only voted in maybe one presidential election it’s pretty hard to remark on politics. If you haven’t been through the cycle of addiction multiple times it’s virtually impossible to relate to an addict.
Without a wide array of lived experiences: this leaves the aspiring young comic to wander other avenues like physical comedy or absurdist humor. This video is a masterful combination of both: it starts as a piece-to-camera documenting a stoner going to lowes. The subject is rambling off what I would describe as “inside jokes”, but in reality this is more likely just a series of phonemes meant to fill the air, a stream of consciousness. It’s intentionally obtuse and absurd. It doesn’t mean anything, it’s just there to make you focus & try to understand what the hell is going on. Eventually he shits his pants, and then proceeds to react in a manner that can best be described as “someone who has never shit their pants before pretends to have shit their pants.” (That or he is actually so god damn high that he thinks approaching strangers w/ pants full of biohazardous material is funny. The fact that I’m not 100% certain if it’s the former or the latter perhaps demonstrates the sheer brilliance of this approach.)
The idea that this is unique to Gen Z is laughable: it’s merely an exploration of several of the genres of comedy with lower barriers to entry. I think any comic, influencer, whatever you want to call them, has gotten their start in a similar manner. All I can say is thank god the camera-phones of my youth were only able to record something like 30 seconds of beautiful 240p footage.
This is not “zoomer humor” it is “immature humor.” The only thing that is perhaps unique is that it is now being widely diseminated because of the uibquity of high-def recording equipment combined with the rise of social media. Of course this is not a story Gen X or Gen Y will tell you: because we’re all old farts now, ones who drink to forget the time we behaved like this.
So you know what, I’ve changed my mind, if the zoomers want to take ownership of this brand of humor, go ahead. (Which I hereby dub Zumor™, or Zumour™ for the non-Americans.) I wash my hands of it. I was definitely not, and will never be, this “cringe.”