The following is from an interview between me and my friend, Grant, after mass at the Caruso Catholic Center. He said he had a joke he could tell me.

Grant: “Why was the plumber crying?”

Me: “Why?”

Grant: “‘Cuz his… his brother got hit by a bus and died.”

(We laughed)

Me: “Is that– is that kind of like an anti-joke?”

Grant: “Yeah… I remember those were all the rage in, like, freshman year.”

Me: “Oh yeah, definitely, me too. What makes an anti-joke so funny to you do you think?”

Grant: “Um, they’re, like, ironic in the sense that the punchline has nothing to do with the set-up, and they’re just dark, and a little dreary… and for some reason that’s funny.”

I remember having anti-joke competitions with friends in high school. You would get more laughs the more intensely dark, messed up, or just plain nonsensical your joke became, so it almost became like an addiction with diminishing returns.