“Gen-Z humor is extremely different from the rest of humor I have seen. It focuses itself on randomness, and not that of planned sketches.” –Alex Consani, Vogue Magazine
Holding 840k followers on TikTok, Alex Consani is a perfect example of Gen Z’s specific and bizarre humor. The famous IMG model created her TikTok account in 2020 with the quirky, unusual, and covertly dark humor that Gen Z prides itself on. As humor is shaped by our own cultural and social experiences, it manifests itself differently throughout each generation. For example: “Boomer” humor tended to be more cynical and political, Gen X is all about the dad jokes, Millennials have their memes and MySpace, and Gen Z laughs at anything out of the ordinary, giving rise to Cosani’s TikTok popularity.
However, there is a deeper reason behind Gen Z adopting this type of humor. Our generation laughs at the unexpected as a coping mechanism for the big changes that have already occurred in our adolescence. Forbes Magazine recognized, “In 2020 and 2021, Gen-Z also has had to face the intersection of the worst health crisis in over a century, the most serious confrontation with systemic racism since the 1960s and the worst economic slump in 70 years (events that will define their generation for the rest of their lives).” Although these events were experienced by several generations, individual generations tend to encounter one or more central crises that color their perspective of the world and foster a particular sense of humor.
Alongside these experiences, Gen Z’s humor has been largely impacted by technology. Growing up in the internet age, we feel united as a generation by exchanging lingo and jokes that only we understand. Although we can’t pinpoint exactly why Gen Z finds light and laughter at the most senseless things, we can consider how it can be a comical escape from such a fast and complicated world. Gen Z also uses this comical escape to discuss more personal topics like mental health and relationship troubles. Gen Z’s dark humor, primarily associated with mental health topics, grew rapidly after the Covid-19 pandemic with the inclusion of self-deprecating humor. As mental health used to be a more taboo topic and was not talked about nearly as much as it is today, Gen Z’s unfiltered and blatant humor decided to bring it to the surface…or to TikTok. The discussion of these serious issues in a light, humorous manner could also be a coping mechanism for the large decline in Gen Z’s mental health after the pandemic.
Gen Z’s humor can find the light in the dark, whether it is viewed as meaningless or not. Understanding the hardships of our generation will provide more understanding of our humor, style, and future as a generation. Just ask @captincroook.