Gen Z Humor: The Absurd, the Bizarre, and the Chaotic

As one of the older members of Gen Z, I get where the confusion comes from. Sometimes, there's simply no logical or linear path to understanding our sense of humor. What used to be memes of stick figures and 7 second Vines of complete randomness soon evolved into a sense of humor no longer reliant on the classic set-up punchline delivery. Nowadays, memes seem to be the primary method of communication between Zoomers. Whether it be to express oneself, flirt, socialize, or even vent, memes have taken over the internet as the collective diary of billions of Zoomers. In today's world, it's important to know how to navigate this sense of humor as it becomes extremely indicative of Gen Z's thoughts, habits, and beliefs.

Perhaps the most distinguishable feature of Zoomer humor is in its bleakness. We resonate very strongly with nihilistic humor. Our approach to many jokes is based on a seemingly dark, pessimistic, and absurd frame of mind. Philosophically, our humor often resorts to existential nihilism by often alluding to our own idiocrasy or doomed sense of existence. In a way, French-Algerian philosopher, Albert Camus, would praise this generation's humoristic nonchalance.

In a world so vast with so many variables, it's become increasingly hard to feel as though the individual truly matters, and therefore why not just laugh at our seemingly inconsequential existence. While this approach appears dark or unflattering, it remains quite beautiful and reflective of Gen Z's experiences. The beauty in it resides within a deeply concealed sense of unity.

For the most part, Zoomers collectively feel and recognize a certain existential paradox, which in a way uplifts and binds them to each other. Since their birth, Gen Zs have not necessarily experienced more or less personal trauma than previous generations, but they've been exposed to depressing news constantly and throughout their whole lives.

Writers Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland describe this experience perfectly in their TV show Rick and Morty. In it, one of the main characters, Summer, responds to her mother's comment on how her generation doesn't understand trauma, to which Summer promptly answers, "B*tch, my generation gets traumatized for breakfast." This statement embodies Gen Z rather perfectly. The fact is, we witness atrocities every day (especially this last year) whether it be in-person or on the news, we witness more bad news than good. And yes, bad news sells but constant reminders of how sad or depressing the world around us is, leads us to imperfect coping mechanisms.

Zoomers aren't unsympathetic to what's happening around us, but through humor, we've had to overcome some of the seeming hopelessness. Our humor is perhaps more pessimistic but it also allows us to stay informed and raise awareness on multitudes of issues. We more than understand global issues as we tend to be their biggest advocates. Moreover, we filter lots and lots of information. We hate fluff and inauthenticity when we read the news, look for work, or interact, and our approach is more direct and German. Our sense of humor keeps us in-check and cognizant of issues and complications around the world. And while it might not be the prettiest sense of humor, it keeps us going.

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