Humor and the Oklahoma Tornado: Some Assembly Required

The devastation and loss of life from the Oklahoma tornado was not funny. Still there was humor... 

An 83-year-old grandmother walked with her son and grandsons through what was left of her home. Part of the roof was in the front yard, and the siding from the front of the house was gone. When a grandson found her keys, she laughed and said, "Oh thank God. We can get in the house."

On the other hand, the veteran CNN anchor, Wolf Blitzer, found some unexpected humor of sorts, when he was on the air with a woman who had survived the storm with her young son. He asked if she was inspired to “thank the Lord” for her survival.

After some awkward laughter, the woman responded: “I…I’m actually an atheist.”

And, in what was a failed attempt at interjecting some humor in the disaster, Lizz Winstead, the Daily Show co-creator tweeted: “This tornado is in Oklahoma so clearly it has been ordered to only target conservatives.”

After Winstead got a lot of flak for her attempted bit of humor, she apologized by tweeting: “Made a political joke, Twas before devastation revealed. In hindsight, had I understood, I would have refrained. Beyond sorry. #LetMeHaveIt,”

Humor in tragic situations works best when it comes from those directly involved in a disaster because it is an honest attempt to help them cope with what happened.

The residents of Moore, Oklahoma, which was the city hardest hit by the tornado, were no different. Those dealing with the disaster found some humor in the signs they posted on their destroyed homes. Some of the funniest, considering the damage done, were:

“Remodeling, “For sale, as is. New floor plan,” and “Open 24 hours.”

And, finally, one newspaper report in Moore, showed a photo of a grinning resident in front of a pile of debris that used to be his home. He stands beside a sign that reads:
“For Sale: Price Reduced: Some Assembly Required.”

Originally published on on May 29, 2013