The inexplicably wild and constantly evolving meme culture catches up to all of us sooner or later. Its special shape-shifting abilities make it seem like it is impossible to keep track of everything that is going on in the world of contemporary humor.
Whether you are a millennial, a boomer, or even a gen Z member yourself, the chances are you have been confused by the disjointed nature of gen z memes at one point or another.
Today, we are doing our best to explain:
- What is gen Z humor?
- Why on Earth is it so weird?
- And how to understand gen Z jokes and memes better?
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be laughing at the memes that once seemed too abstract for your taste. Otherwise, you may make an informed decision that it’s just not your cup of tea.
Either way, let’s get into it!
What is Gen Z Known For?
According to Pew Research Center, Generation Z refers to all people born between 1997 and 2012.
Here is a quick graph showcasing where does gen Z stand in the generational timeline:
So what is gen Z known for?
If we listen to the stereotypes, gen Z members are known as:
- heavily dependent on (if not addicted to) the technology and social media they are growing up with;
- mostly oriented toward dark humor and absurd comedy;
- quite open-minded and flexible with their views of the world;
- not rarely anti-social and more comfortable with virtual than real-life social interactions.
Now, while there is some truth on which the stereotypes are based, we don’t care much for them. Generation Z is one of the most diverse generations out there, and the humor we will be discussing today can attest to that.
What is Gen Z Humor?
Gen Z humor is a unique, contemporary type of surreal, absurdist, and often dark comedy commonly associated with generation Z.
If you’re having a hard time imagining just how progressive and abstract memes can get, here is the currently most upvoted meme in the subreddit r/GenZHumor:
You’re not the only one. Gen Z humor has been a very hot topic for debate amongst people of all ages (members of the generation itself included).
Before we dive into the why, let’s try to understand the most noticeable traits of gen Z humor:
- It’s abstract and surreal in a unique way. The understanding of memes usually comes from total immersion into the constantly evolving meme culture, which is why most older generations struggle with understanding it.
- It’s chaotic and expressive, short and obscure. Much like the people behind it, gen Z humor doesn’t care much for structure and rules. In a way, you can compare it to dadaism in art. Although it doesn’t always have such a strong message behind it, gen Z humor is just as striking and memorable.
- It evolves extremely fast. Like most social media trends, contemporary humor is also hard to catch. Memes rise and fall quicker than cryptocurrency, so it is quite challenging to keep up with the latest.
- It thrives from absurdity. One of the first things that probably come to mind when you are scrolling through gen Z memes is just how absurd they are. Half the fun is in the sheer nonsense of the world around us, and hence, in the humor we find funny.
- It doesn’t shy away from dark humor. To fight against the darkness of the world with laughter, you must first embrace it.
Why is Gen Z Humor “Broken”?
It’s hard to understand anything if you don’t figure out where it’s coming from. Even though most boomers would disagree, the young generations have grown up in incredibly stressful and explosive worlds.
Generation Z has faced economic rollercoasters, global pandemics, threats of nuclear wars, school shootings, social justice movements, and countless other global issues that are not easy to grasp, let alone deal with.
Simply put, generation Z grew up using laughter as a fighting mechanism against the hardships it is not able or ready to handle. Consequentially, gen Z humor became a way of coping with uncertainty.
It comes as a natural step in the evolution of the complex meme culture this generation grew up with.
Nihilistic Views & Humor as a Coping Mechanism
The difficulties boomers and millennials have with understanding it mostly come from their different views on the world around us. Despite its incredible diversity, generation Z has developed a peculiar sort of collective awareness, partially nihilistic at its core, but not in a negative way.
The overwhelming challenges of the world this generation is growing up in make it very convenient for them to find comfort (and strength) in humor and use it as a coping mechanism. For that reason, this type of humor nurtures escapism and absurdity to battle a worrying reality.
In addition to that, perhaps the fact that gen Z humor is strictly theirs, and their older siblings and parents have a hard time understanding it, makes it even more successful at its core.
In the words of a certain gen Z Reddit user:
Millennials were edgy. We’re chaotic.
Examples of Gen Z Humor Memes
Hopefully, by this point, you have gained valuable into the complex background of our topic for the day. It’s only fitting that we now look at some gen Z humor memes and try to understand them:
Or this wonderful tweet:
Don’t worry if you are not getting it yet. It takes some time to get used to it. Soon, you’ll find yourself having a beesechurger with some kids from around the block.
Now, we would like to hear from you:
What are your views on the evolving gen Z humor? Are you having a hard time keeping up with it, and are you even trying to do so?
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. We would be happy to hear them!