My informant was an active participant in the Los Angeles branch of the Occupy Wall Street movement that came to life in Los Angeles in October of 2011. His participation spanned from its first day in Los Angeles, to the beginning of December.
My informant explained to me that during his involvement in Occupy Los Angeles, he and his friends would regularly come up with Occupy-related jokes.
Common jokes involved plays on the word “occupy” such as “I’m going to go and occupy the bathroom right now” or “I’m going to go home and occupy my bed.” Another theme brought up was the use of pie. “I remember, at a protest one time, a bunch of us were, we were getting arrested and um, this one guy, he takes this megaphone and starts asking the cops what their favorite pie is. Cause… ya know, occu-pie? It was weird, but it lightened to mood.” Some of the jokes were more widespread than others. He said using plays on any of the words of Occupy Wall Street was really common. Occupy Sesame Street was a popular one he said. “There were the occupy sesame street signs–It had… um, The Count on it right? “Count the ways we have been fucked over” or, uh there was the cookie monster one that said “1% of monsters are eating 99% of cookies””
These occupy jokes had a purpose much greater than being told just to make each other laugh. These jokes were used as a coping mechanism. My informant described being a regular occupier as incredibly stressful, “the whole thing–it turned my life upside down.” By making absurd jokes all the time, he and his friends were able to make light of what was often a stressful and difficult experience. “We had to deal with being torn down constantly, by the cops, city, the media, even our peers–so we had to keep laughing as a way to deal with it.”