After 9/11, How We Learned to Laugh Again

Those declaring the end of irony were quickly proved wrong.


Gilbert Gottfried is now considered a post-9/11 comedy success story despite a failed 9/11 joke at a roast of Hugh Hefner, shown above, shortly after the attack.

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Even 10 years later, the subject could be treacherous. A November 2011 episode of "Family Guy" had Brian and Stewie time traveling to prevent the attack, only to set off a series of events that brought America a fate much worse. Many claimed that, if not too soon, the episode went too far. Those few examples aside, irony doomsayers have been proven largely wrong. Perhaps they should have looked to the past before making their predictions, as New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani pointed out in her early rebuttal to their claims: "The belief that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 will lead to kinder, gentler entertainment belies the historical record of reactions to earlier tragedies, wars and social upheavals."

Perhaps the greatest irony of post-9/11 humor is that we worried it was going somewhere in the first place.

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