Today, I’m going to tackle a treasured trope of many low-budget films and television shows – the poop joke.
This joke has existed since time immemorial, probably even to the point of being scrawled on the walls of caves, down below the actual important artwork that all the museums prefer to focus on. While there is at least one poop joke present in just about every single comedy in existence, and I can guarantee that there isn’t a human alive who hasn’t laughed at at least one poop joke, they are still considered to be at the ass end of comedy (see what I did there?).
The question is, why?
Why do we consider poop jokes to be such shit? I think that the first and foremost reason is that they are clinically overdone. One of the best ways to ruin any joke, no matter how hilarious, is to overuse it. The first time a monkey hits a man in the genitalia with a softball, it’s hilarious. It will leave people literally rolling on the floor laughing (or ROTFL, for short). However, after they’ve seen this on a commercial fifty times in the last three days while they want to just keep on watching Castle without such interruptions blocking Nathan Fillion’s sexy face, such antics aren’t nearly as funny.
So, overuse. But that can’t be the only reason that film critics bite their pencils in half when confronted by a toilet joke. Which is ironic, because those pencils are a great source of fiber. But why else are poop jokes considered to be the lowest common denominator of humor?
Perhaps it is exactly because these jokes are so easy to relate to. From the top-paid CEO to the janitorial worker in his employ, everyone laughed at a poop joke at some point in their life. To a thirteen year old, the latest Adam Sandler comedy is hilarious. But to the rest of us, these jokes are a symbol of how low we once sat, how we once considered such jokes to be the pinnacle of humor.
We may have moved on. We may have evolved. Over the course of our lives, we may have dragged ourselves up into the peaks of high society, raised ourselves out of the coffee and into the cream. We have no inclination to look back, and don’t want to see our roots. When such a simple joke is able to pull at our strings, to remind us of how we once started off among the shit, we groan, forcing it out of our consciousness to avoid such frustrating realizations.
Finally, perhaps because of how we dislike poop jokes, we have imposed a stigma upon them. No matter how many times you attend the White House Correspondents’ dinner, you aren’t likely to hear a lot of comments on the brown stuff. Why is that? Because we have decreed that such jokes are the products of low class, and should not be associated with the upper class. They have risen above such vulgar and derisive forms of humor!
Allow me to draw a parallel to horse meat. Recently, there was a scandal over the discovery of horse meat in beef sold in Europe. Horse meat, by the way, happens to be healthier in just about every way versus beef. It’s lower in calories, less fat, more lean, cheaper to produce, less cholesterol, and is overall assumed to taste better. However, because we have imposed such stigma on the act of eating horse, horse meat is considered to be vulgar and not worth consuming.
So not to beat a dead horse, but I have a reason for trying to avoid poop jokes. Despite the fact that just about every human being, alive or dead, will get a poop joke, they tend to signal to the reader that the subject matter is low-grade, inferior, not valuable. Much like poop.
And that’s too bad, because such jokes are literally dropping out of me on a daily basis!