STAFF OPINION: Dry humor is the best humor

By Michael Lang | April 27, 2023 11:30am

Photo courtesy of Michael Lang.

I’m a pretty pragmatic person. I follow through with deadlines efficiently, I don’t like wasting other people’s time and I’m straightforward in the way I reason with others and make decisions.

That being said, I also have a love for sarcasm — but not the obnoxious and excessive type that probably first comes to mind. I’m talking about the subtle sarcasm that is often so buried in conversation that it sometimes goes unnoticed. The kind that makes you think and question yourself for just a few split seconds before the joke hits.

When it does hit, though, the joy and laughter that follow is unique from any other type of direct joke or humor. You get the chance to watch another person mentally connect the dots as they process what was just said.

And that’s exactly why I appreciate dry humor so much. It removes any sort of purpose in needing or forcing yourself to tell somebody else something funny. Rather, it intertwines standard, every-day conversations with unique observations and quick thinking. It essentially injects unnecessary, yet rewarding humor into otherwise “dry” conversations.

Being observant is critical with this because when small things that people often look over get highlighted or called out with the joke, people will take humor in the fact that something that insignificant and weirdly specific can be noticed by whoever picked up on it.

There can be criticisms with dry humor though. People who use it might come across as monotone or emotionless given the deadpan expressions that are associated with its presentation and delivery. Others might not fully grasp the joke, but instead see it as a rude side comment.

Both of these are valid reasons to not like aspects of dry humor, but there really is no other solution to these with other forms of humor. If you attempt a joke and it fails, who’s going to gain more attention for the failure — the person who just hyped everyone up beforehand with a more direct sense of humor and a predicted time for a punchline or the person who tried slipping in a quick one-liner in a seemingly unnoticeable and conversational way?

Regardless of whether you like it or even notice it at all, dry humor has its perks. It alleviates the severity of certain situations without completely changing the topic. It also spurs connections with others because many of the things that get noticed and called out involve the shared experiences of those you surround yourself with and the situation you all find yourself in.

While I enjoy including sarcasm with this type of humor, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way all the time either. It also doesn’t have to be well thought out in advance. In fact, when dry humor is used enough on a regular basis, it starts to become a part of your everyday conversations with others whether you recognize it or not.

So consider using dry humor in the way you engage with others. Life is too short to be serious all the time and college, especially, is already stressful enough with the amount of work on everyone’s plate. Plus, it’s good to lighten up the mood every now and then with some witty thinking.

Michael Lang is a member of the editorial board for The Beacon. He can be reached at

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