One of my favorite quotes is "When in doubt, don't" which basically says not to make decisions if you aren't sure what's even happening or what your actions mean. I tend to say "When in, don't doubt" which basically says it's ok to act when push comes to shove because that's to way life works. These phrases mean precisely the opposite thing. As pieces of advice they both represent wildly different world views but I only ever switched the placement of two words.
Let's talk about puns.
The pun up above is an example of what we will call a Dad Joke-style joke. It's made up on the spot, is contrived, and requires a bit of dissection to actually get what the point of the joke is. The humor and enjoyment of a dad joke is watching the gears turn in the participants head as they try and process what you just said to them. Usually once they figure out it was supposed to be a joke the responce is a "Boo" or a groan which is pretty unavoidable considering that by a dad joke's very nature it is inherently poorly thought out as a joke. The fact that they have to piece together what you're talking about makes the actual punchline not at all funny but with the stigma and mental connections of dad jokes the very existence of the the joke becomes humorous.
It's like "Come on was that supposed to be funny to me?" which becomes a joke in and of itself, with the punchline of the dad joke being the setup and the reaction of the consumer being the punchline. No longer is it enjoyable for the pun, but rather the person telling the dad joke gives up a bit of reactional dignity to be the butt of their very own joke. The groanable nature of the pun becomes the joke that seperated from the actual pun, so to speak. A sort of meta joke that I think is important.
Another kind of joke I'd like to talk about is Dark Comedy. A good example of dark comedy that appeals to people who maybe don't like dark comedy, I think, (also it's just sort of an example that nobody would ever bring up so there ya go) is the ending to Of Mice and Men:
"Carlson said, 'Now what the hell do you suppose is eatin' them two guys?'"
I love this line. The thing with dark comedy is that it has a massive inbalance of opportunity. You need to know when to call the shot, how to call the shot, and why you're calling the shot, but if you do it right then it can paradoxically provide some comedic relief and also heigten the tension or the gloominess. The example above is great because it manages to undercut the entire plot of the novel with a subdued and offhand remark by a secondary character. And then the book ends. It doesn't make you laugh, rather you feel kind of sickened but the choice to end the novel this way has a larger purpose than just A joke would have.
Dark comedy can make statements about grander things than the actual joke. They can be satirical, but they don't have to be, but in this context I feel like dark comedy can't just be a joke that is noticabley morbid like a dead baby joke. Not that you couldn't define a regular dead baby joke as dark comedy but I personally don't class dark comedy in that way--it has to be seperate from other jokes in it's purpose. Humanity enjoys poking fun at how awful real life can be with things like disparate viewpoints clashing or bad things getting worse in comic ways. Dead baby jokes get their reaction from you not expecting the morbid punchline and then getting one that's incredibly morbid. Dark comedy, in my eyes, should comment on the tragedy but not introduce it.
"Midget meat is the best cut of meat, since it's just like long pork but closer to ground"