Many in the media have stated in relation to the Jordan Russell naked tape, “There’s nothing funny about a nervous breakdown.” I disagree. Have you seen the video? It’s freaking hilarious.
Don’t feel bad about it either. It’s a naked man jumping around on a busy street corner. That’s funny. Not just any naked man either. This man has orchestrated one of the most successful social media campaigns. Ever.
While attention in the Kony 2012 campaign was still rising, a campaign which holds Mr Russell up as a moral crusader, he was jumping around naked. In public. If you made it up, nobody would believe you. It’s pure comedy gold.
Now let me explain why it’s okay to piss yourself. We laugh for many reasons. One of the biggest is watching someone hurt themselves. The classic man slipping on a banana peel. A cat slipping on anything. A fat man… moving
Put the banana peel man in an expensive suit. His fall is funnier. Make him a politician and cover him in manure. Hilarious, and that’s another big reason to laugh –taking down someone who’s high status.
Remember when you laugh at someone, you’re not saying that you don’t understand or respect them. You’re just saying something they did was funny. That’s it.
Laughter is also a magnificent coping mechanism. Once you can laugh at a misfortune, an accident, a tragedy or even a death, you’ve gone a long way to taking ownership of that situation and dealing with it.
Then if you’re the subject of the laughter, if you’re able to look at yourself and say, ‘Wow. That was stupid. It hurt. But it probably looked hilarious.’ Well people actually have more respect for you.
It works the other way as well. If you try to pretend something isn’t funny, when it blatantly is, the sniggering goes on behind your back. Then you look like more of a fool. Feeling bad for laughing at someone’s misfortune, when it’s funny, is political correctness gone mad.
So I watched the Kony 2012 video. It was over the top, but it seems like a lot of good work is happening, and the American troops are now over there, helping to catch the bad guy.
Next Mr Russell wants to cover the US with posters on some day in April. To convince the government to do nothing else, because they’re already doing what he wants. So it’s a bit stupid, but whatever. When this Kony is finally caught, that will be awesome.
Another reason this is funny isn’t so innocent. Mr Russell used social media to get his message out there. That video was very carefully designed to appeal to Facebook and YouTube users. It directly referenced them, and he exploited his own son to increase people’s emotional investment.
It was clever and it worked, and his cause became one of the biggest social media phenomenons ever, where so many other organizations have failed. Mr Russell wanted to make Joseph Kony into a celebrity, and he understood that in order to be successful, he had to make himself into a celebrity as well.
Then the exact same social media outlets that he manipulated for his cause went crazy over his naked leaping around. The tools he used to make his cause famous turned on him and made him infamous. That’s classic irony. A more subtle form of humour, but still very funny.
Here’s a link to a video: Jordan Russell Meltdown YES