Painfully Funny

Painfully Funny

Nathaly Martinez

With the internet, entertainment is easy to come by. When looking at what people watch, we have to ask, “Why do people find pain entertaining?”

The top results when you search for the funniest videos on YouTube are compilations showing someone getting hurt. It’s not just the internet; even mainstream television contributes to this type of questionable entertainment. The most popular upload on the YouTube channel of America’s Funniest Home Videos is 24 clips, totaling almost 8 minutes, of people getting hurt. I asked some of our school community if they laugh at videos such as these.

Dajour, a ninth grader, said, “They’re not going to be fatally injured. That’s why it’s funny,”

Ellyssa, another CIHS student added, “Kids’ cartoons always have people getting hurt, so we find it funny.” It seems as if cartoons for young children are no longer as violent as the old Tom and Jerry cartoons, but that doesn’t seem to make children any less entertained by violence. 

Mrs. Schmalacker, a ninth grade English teacher admitted, “I giggle because it makes me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t say I am entertained– more like I feel bad for them but there is nothing I can do.” 

When people can be anonymous, it seems they are more willing to admit being entertained by the injuries of others. On the “[4 hour] Try not to Laugh Challenge!” a commenter stated, “I can’t stop laughing 😂😂😂”

The funny thing is it is such a phenomenon that a scientific name was given to it: “Schadenfreude,” from the German words, Schaden and Freude, harm and joy. Princeton University researchers say “biologically we are responsive to taking pleasure in the pain of others.”  Since people are so centered in their own lives they feel disconnected to the pain of others especially while watching videos. Sometimes it’s much more simple like not sympathizing when they inevitably hurt themselves due to envy or hatred.

You don’t always laugh because you found something humorous. It’s also a way to release pent up emotions.

Though we might want to tell ourselves that we feel bad, a snicker or a full on laugh might escape you. Don’t feel too bad, for it is a natural human reaction