Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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No Inside Jokes!

On Friday night I went to a friend’s improv performance. The evening consisted of three teams performing for an audience of 50 or so people. I had a good time and did a fair amount of laughing along the way. On the way home my girlfriend Brittany and I were talking about the performance and she said something that really got me thinking: The jokes people liked the best were the ones that replayed an earlier gag. It was almost like they were telling inside jokes, she said. Thinking about it, she was absolutely right, it was those earlier references that got the most laughs.

Tonight, when I got home I had an email from Kareem with a link to an article titled “The Death of the Double Entendre all about how there are no more inside jokes in advertising. Whereas once advertisers expected some level of cultural competency to understand what they were creating, today we simplify things to a level where misinterpretation is impossible. Sure, today’s advertising may be more risque, but that doesn’t mean it’s more interesting. In an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible advertisers have all but ended the inside joke. They wouldn’t dare write a line that couldn’t be easily understood by their entire demographic segment.

That, I think, is the problem. We’re too mass. We spend a lot of money trying to generate more leads (the ultimate goal of advertising), rather than better ones. It all seems pretty backwards to me.

August 6, 2006