How Does Humor Intersect With Grief and Fear?
Last week, popular YouTuber, author, and science communicator Hank Green announced that he had cancer (very treatable Hodgkin’s lymphoma). His video announcement was part of a series of back-and-forth videos he does with his brother John Green, popular YouTuber and novelist. John replied to Hank’s video with a short one of his own, noting that humor is one way that people deal with grief but also a way in which we can accompany people through tough times.
To work, the humor has to feel like love rather than judgment, like inclusion rather than stigma, and like celebration rather than dismissal. And that’s a tough balance. Sometimes well-intentioned people, including me, get it wrong. And it also depends on, like, who’s saying it and the context.
Good luck and my warmest thoughts to the Greens and their family as they navigate this difficult time. And, you know, fuck cancer.