#2. Any Meme Whatsoever
Sounds Like ...
In Russia, X _______s you! The cake is a lie! But then I took an arrow to the knee! Call me maybe! Not sure if meme or macro. Looks like I'm going to -- puts on sunglasses say a meme -- YEEEEAAAAAHHH! Your grandma just died of a heart medication overdose!
Why People Do It
Not everyone is a comedian. I get that. Hell, not everyone even has a good sense of humor. Of course, everyone thinks they do, because they know that when they hear something funny, they respond with laughter. And because comedy is so subjective, they're bound to laugh at things that not everyone thinks is funny, and vice versa. But when it comes right down to it, not everyone can create comedy, which is why the Internet (and really the world) is about 5 percent comedians and 95 percent people repeating funny things they heard other people say.
"And the link just led to a video of Rick Astley! I got him good!"
They're the ones from the late '80s who did bad imitations of Dana Carvey's bad imitation of George Bush Sr. They yell "GIT ER DONE!" and know every word to the "more cowbell" sketch by heart. The desire to make people laugh is in most people to begin with. In true comedians, this is the driving force that keeps them constantly looking for new things to talk about. They attempt to make people laugh in ways nobody has ever heard before. In the minds of people who rely solely on memes, the desire is there, but the creativity isn't.
Life to them is less about painting something new and more about seeing conversations as jigsaw puzzles that they can plug pre-made jokes into -- even if sometimes they have to force that motherfucker into the slot until the edges fray and the picture starts to peel off of the cardboard. And you have to constantly remind them that they can't eat it.
"Ah, good, there's Chuck Norris. See if you can find Condescending Willy Wonka."
Why We Hate It
I'll give you this much: Memes become memes because they're usually pretty funny. One person laughs and shows it to another. And that cycle continues until everyone has showed it to everyone else and it's now just getting passed around in an endless loop of Facebook status updates and rolled eyes. It's the same bar joke we've heard a million times. If someone tried to tell you an actual joke with that kind of frequency in real meatspace, you'd throw up a hand and stop them with "Oh yeah, I've heard that one before." And that's after hearing it only once before. The surprise is gone. We know what's coming.
"I've gotta go. I have to lie down and see if I can wish you out of existence."
There's a point of saturation that people hit in which they eventually stop laughing for real and switch into a polite fake laugh that's designed to just let you know that they recognize and appreciate your effort to make them laugh. They could literally look at you and say, straight-faced, "I appreciate your effort," and it would send exactly the same message as that laugh. But then after a while, even that fades, and they start daydreaming that you're Greedo and they're Han. And not only did they fire first, but they went through the rest of the bar, shooting everyone else until the memory of your meme was buried under the crushing weight of 50 smoldering tickets to hell.
#1. Trading Puns
Sounds Like ...
"Has anyone heard anything about that accident at Sea World this morning?"
"I've read a few things, but the stories sound FISHY."
"Same here, but I got the WATERED DOWN version."
I'm not a Reddit guy, but I have friends who are. One of their biggest complaints is that sometimes they'll find a headline that they'd like to get some more information on, but to get to that, they first have to wade through 200 goddamn puns. For those who don't know how bad a message board pun exchange can be, feel free to read all of this one.
We know all about it on our own forums. It got so bad at one point, we had to make it a bannable offense, because a thread would start off with a legitimate post about a man being eaten by his pet bear, and then end up with five pages of nothing but "I bet his pain was unBEARable!" And ending with the inevitable post that appears in all pun exchanges in which someone pretends that they don't know what puns are and flatly states "A bear ate that guy!" Hell, I'm not innocent -- I've done it myself.
That's a lot to digest.
Why People Do It
Quite honestly, it's one of the easiest forms of comedy in existence. Pretty much anyone can do it with virtually no thought or effort, and once someone starts it out, you can just keep it going until the universe collapses and exacts its terrible revenge. Once that exchange gets kick-started, you're a part of something. You're not just repeating jokes you heard someone else say -- you're actually creating comedy! And that's good, right? Creating feels pretty damn awesome.
He didn't just jump right in and eat the guy. First he had to maul it over.
Why We Hate It
The problem is that it just absolutely fucking wrecks any chance of a conversation in a matter of seconds. Because puns are considered to be one of the lowest forms of wit in existence, most normal humans think of them as dumb jokes made by dumb people. And, yes, I understand that they've been around for as long as spoken language itself, but I'm going to blame Mike Myers for it. Because he happens to be one of the only humans to ever pull off a funny string of puns, mostly because he was clearly making fun of them. But the downside is that it gave birth to an entire generation of meme people repeating "He'll never be the head of a major corporation."
Look, I don't expect everyone to be fine-tuned comedy machines like Kristen Schaal or a second Kristen Schaal. But I see so many people get so much shit for something that is so easily fixable with just a little restraint and a few seconds of extra thought. And I sincerely apologize if I come across as the asshole here, but I see it as a case of if your friend has a booger on his face, you tell him about that shit before he steps out into public. Some of you need to go blow your nose.
For more Cheese, check out 9 YouTube Videos That Prove Anyone Can Get Sober and 5 Terrible Things You Can't Stop Your Children From Doing.