Horrible Humor

colgoo's picture

Horrible Humor



Liner Notes: 

So this week's tragicomic challenge came right after my friend's funeral. So, I went there...to the dark depths of dark humor. I picked three vignettes of losing people in my life. The first verse is about a classmate of mine murdered right before Thanksgiving break our senior year. The second verse is about my brother-in-law who choked on his pancake at breakfast and ended up dying. The third is my friend who died a month after her fortieth birthday, leaving her husband, four school age kids and an entire community stunned by her sudden loss.

I didn't get very creative with my tune/guitar playing. Just focused on the storytelling aspect of sharing these lyrics. My line about humor handing us rope is about how sometimes our joking can make people feel guilty or even push suicidal people over the edge. We must be careful in how we handle morbid humor.


1. I showed up at school with a smile on my face.
But the mood was cool--no one spoke in the place.
So I broke the ice, with a joke so wry,
"Why's it so quiet? Did somebody die?"
"Lorenzo was murdered on Friday night."
"Stabbed 24 times--they couldn't get it right."
"Left on the side of the road, bleeding out."
That's what this silence is all about.

We joke about death because it's so real,
To distance ourselves so that we can heal.
"Did you hear about the man buried alive?
It was a grave mistake. He didn't survive."
Horrible humor. Horrible humor helps us cope.
Horrible humor. Horrible humor hands us rope.

2. "Don't eat so fast. You'll choke to death!"
My sister said with exasperated breath.
As she turned to wave her husband good-bye,
She saw he was choking--about to die.
He spent five days in the ICU.
She really didn't know what else to do.
He was losing brain function, so she said good-bye.
She was so numb with pain she couldn't cry.

We joke about death because it's so real,
To distance ourselves so that we can heal.
We drove by Dead Man's Hill on our way back.
"Good thing there's only women in the car." I cracked.
Horrible humor. Horrible humor helps us cope.
Horrible humor. Horrible humor hands us rope.

3. My friend's sense of humor was sharp and keen.
She'd poke fun at herself, but she wasn't mean.
Fierce and funny, she'd fight for her friends
And joke about death like they'd made amends.
When we heard she'd passed gently in the night,
We shook our heads and said, "It's not right!"
"How could someone so vibrant and sunny
Die like this? --- it isn't funny!"

She seemed to joke brightly, "Yeah, death is real
But don't distance yourselves from what you feel.
Heaven's so amazing. Didn't you hear?
Everyone's dying to get in here!"

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


Jerry Pettit's picture

Wow! This is so great!! I love the lyrics, love the stories you've based them on. I'm known for my edgy, sometimes inappropriate humor--so am enjoying the sentiment expressed. This was really terrific!

cindyrella's picture

This is amazing! You dealt so well with death. It may be horrible humor, but so much needed! I hope everyone laughs and jokes when I go. Such a brilliant song!

My aunt once went to a funeral of a relative that had a bit of an alcohol problem. The minister got up to say some positive words about him but was interrupted by a man in the back who yelled out, "He was dirty drunk!" Smile

Rob From Amersfoort's picture

Great lyrics, poignant and wry. You express the delicate balance between good and improper humor well! About the jokes:
1. could happen to everyone.
2. ok, that joke was not very smart...
3. that one is really funny.

Vom Vorton's picture

Wonderful lyric, such a great take on the challenge and poignant in its humorousness. I always find it easier to connect to a story if it has some humour in it, even / especially when it's a sad story, so I very much appreciate this. Great way to turn three sad tales into a witty and thought-provoking song.