Goofy humor can convey very serious things (laughtivism)
This one's a doozy, because both Andy and Mike first learned it before the Yes Men existed, and it's informed much of what we've done since.
And certainly not only us, of course: it was integral to Otpor's overthrow of Milosevic in 2000, to the Tahrir Square activists' overthrow of Mubarak in 2011, to ACT-UP's campaigns to get funding for AIDS research and treatment, etc. The list could go on forever.
Some more concrete reasons we believe in the use of humor in activism:
- When you laugh, you're off-balance and off-guard, and more susceptible to new information.
- People like laughing, and tweeters and journalists therefore tend to spread funny stories.
- It's fun.
Making fun of the less-powerful just isn't funny, so good humor is biased towards progressives.
We've linked to this lesson from a few of our projects, below, but it's central to almost everything that we've done—or, if not humor per se, at least trickiness.
Also make sure to check out a very different lesson we've also learned (and forgotten) a good many times: that satire and humor have their limits.