My first corona joke felt like a comforting hot water bottle. With all my nerve control attempts and exercises to suppress anxiety in the past few days, I hadn’t noticed how shivering I had become in the meantime until an old friend from a time that no longer seemed to call me. We spoke via video call about his business idea: a hula-hoop converted into a spacer, which you could strap on with suspenders as if you were the planet Jupiter and the fitness ring the ring around you.
Anja Rützel writes for SPIEGEL about the beautiful sides of trash TV and pop. Her book “Sleeping Dogs” was recently published and deals with celebrities and their pets. She lives in Berlin.
It was the first time I laughed about Corona. We wrung everything out of the idea, thought about a chic Art Deco variant, in which the ring would also emit stable, gold-metallic radiation rods. Different sizes would be variably screwed on and off according to the currently required minimum distance dimensions.
It was silly. But incredibly relieving.
I have known for a long time that humor in bad situations can relieve, help and heal in the short term, from private messes and collective disasters, and I am very grateful for it. In the current Corona affliction, I’m still too stiff for something like this, too busy with rescheduling the already half-stormy first half of the year.
But that’s not all. I am also – completely humorless – too worried to save myself, as is usual for me, in the guiding principle that is stamped on my keychain: “Calm down, it’s all funny.”
This is my universal consolation, a condensed anthem, with which I tackle the grief of life in my better phases as the first measure of destruction. This does not work with all things (and not at all times), but at least with some, at least in tragicomic terms, I can still save some things.
It probably works with that Comic relief not for me, because I don’t know the rules how to laugh about the Corona virus. Too much is still unsafe, changes again and again, and something you can’t believe cannot be joked.
That’s why not only do I not come up with my own jokes with which I could shrink the situation to a more vulnerable, less threatening size, I can also – still? – don’t really laugh at most of the professional corona humor that I occasionally read on Twitter, for example.
It is also difficult to find the smallest, or rather the lowest, common sense of humor here: how funny you find a potentially fatal virus is for everyone to decide for himself, it also depends on how much resilience bacon in better times you have created a deposit.
Humor always needs to classify and legitimize others
A good picture for this uncertainty were recently the fast and barely passing jokes, which were completely sent out without a studio audience, without gossip and laughing backdrop, at the show debacle “Who sleeps, loses”: Humor always needs to classify and legitimize others – if this is a joint negotiation what is funny and what is not, remains only washed-out discomfort, no relief from shared giggling – even if Klaas Heufer-Umlauf coquetted in a episode of his podcast “Baywatch Berlin” that the missing audience could also be an advantage for fun makers because they get sovereignty over which joke works and which one doesn’t: “I’m now going out of a show without an audience and have the feeling that every gag has been sitting, every gag has been great. I just don’t let anything anymore fool the audience. I decide what’s funny. “
“Laughing at harmless toilet paper jokes is bad when the starting point is anything but harmless.”
Which then, of course, leads humor into privatization, and that fits into a danger that frees you from almost all social structures and turns you into an individual again. Covid-19 is a threat that requires uncommon encapsulation for many – this aspect of spatial encapsulation is not new to me, I like being a lot and alone for a long time. That’s why I was most able to enjoy myself in the past few days.
About the new, awkward wobble hand gesture, which I got used to instead of shaking hands or hugging, a mixture of the Queen’s graceful wrist-twist and a dapper Teletubbie-Winke-Winke.
About my attempts at turning around hard on the “fathers of the clothes” -klamauk with unavoidable external contact with distant people, about the interior debacle that involuntarily protrudes during video calls and about the fact that I am a little bit quantity-wise when ordering cheese online Tired of nerves – and can now probably eat Gorgonzola Appenzeller cheese platter every evening for weeks.
In contrast to milk products, humor cannot be hamstered for at least a few days, it must be freshly composed and consumed hot. This week, the first comedian approaches to the corona quarantine were on TV – my already manageable hope that they would find a suitable outlet to alleviate all the uncertainty, annoyance and fear of that time, at least for a while, was not Fulfills. People laugh badly at harmless toilet paper jokes when the starting point is anything but harmless.
But we still have the possibility, even entrenched in our apartments, to surprise old friends with a video call. And maybe show them how funny we always greet distant acquaintances on the street. Silliness can not cure us, but maybe it can save us for a very short time.