Friday, August 3, 2012

Humor in Second Life

Humor is reason gone mad.

Groucho Marx


After I wrote my last story speculating about whether or not Second Life (SL) could ever be considered a civilization, a friend dropped a note saying I’d gotten awfully serious all of a sudden. She had missed my humor.  (Some of my readers are really loyal!)   

This got me thinking about humor and SL and about the inherent humor contained in SL.  (Don’t worry, this is not going to be a very serious story.  Or, at least I don’t intend it to be.)

Think about this.  About forty years ago, Allen Funt of Candid Camera fame, directed a film called What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? which recorded people’s reactions to encountering a naked woman in unexpected, everyday situations.  It was a little controversial (guess why?) and became something of a cult classic.  Now, flash forward forty or so years to SL and guess what?  One can bump into naked women, not to mention men and assorted other creatures, all over the grid.  Is this any less funny than Funt’s opus?  If a movie can be funny then what about an entire virtual world?

How about a few other examples of humor in SL? 

Let’s start with a few of my past stories. (It’s my blog, I can plug my own stories!)  Remember Sex in SL?  I wrote about the use of birth control and Viagra inworld.  People loved it and thought it was hilarious.  All I did was call out what was already there.  (Alright, maybe I did a little digging but you get the idea.)  Then there was my Interview with a Mad Scientist.  (I’d like to see 60 Minutes top that one.)  Or, how about Live in a Box?   Only in SL could that one be funny. 

How about some of the avatars that residents present themselves as inworld?  Vampires, nekos, and furries to name but a few.  I mean no disrespect here because I have friends in all categories, but I have to admit I’m amused by the variety of personal representations chosen inworld.  And, let’s not forget some of the lavish costumes worn by some of the more conventional avatars. 

Here’s a controversial recommendation. What about griefing?  Yes, I know it’s bad behavior, unethical, and illegal in a few cases.  But, you have to admit there’s something funny about the sky over a too serious news conference being filled with flying phalluses

Finally, if all of this is just too New Age for you, SL has a traditional comedy clubs just like Real Life (RL).  Kickstand\’s Comedy Club has scheduled comics, open mic nights, and has comedy films every day.  There’s something for everyone!  

Alright, some may say that these are just examples and they may be humorous by themselves but they don’t make SL any more of a humorous place than RL.  (I have an opinion about RL and humor but I’ll save it for another time and place.) 

Let’s just stop and think about that for a minute. We’re talking about a place where grown-up’s (calendar-wise if not mentally) go around playing dress-up as virtual avatars.  They have fictional back stories and get into all sorts of situations.  Just look at me and some of the situations I got myself into!  There has to be humor in all of this, right?  If there isn’t then I obviously don’t know humor when I see it. (Don’t say it!) 

In closing, I submit SL is a humorous place.  A very humorous place.  Why?  Well, at least for me, SL makes me happy (Don’t worry, I have a perfectly well adjusted RL too.  Significant Other insists on it.), and I’ve been known to smile and laugh while inworld. That has to be humor.  Let me put it another way.  Who goes into SL to be unhappy? 
As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. And, for all the humor that they with me and others! 

Below are a few pictures of some of the communities I’ve visited inworld, which at the time seemed a little humorous.  I hope you find them that way too! 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.


Ivy Paderborn said...

As always, thoughtful and entertaining. Thank you! :)

Tali Rosca said...

I've been waxing somewhat nostalgic about "back in the days" when "griefing" meant well-thought-out practical jokes by people who really knew the platform.
These days, all I see is people rezzing the same screaming, particle-spewing cubes, and I really don't have any respect for that.

webspelunker said...


Know what you mean!

Makes me wonder if the truly creative griefers have gone elsewhere!

Thanks for reading and commenting!