C 2 · C1 · Media, arts, literature & entertainment · Open cloze · speaking · Vocabulary

Funny or not so funny?

We all saw it on the news this morning. Just when we had high hopes of receiving an award for Spanish cinema, there goes Will Smith who gives Chris Rock a slap in the face and drops an F-bomb opening the debate on whether certain issues should be overlooked in the name of humour and where to draw the line.

It this post we’re going to see vocabulary related to types of “jokes” and related collocations.

Have a look at the word cloud. How many of these expressions do you know? Twenty of them have been included on a grid. Organise them according to the description. You’ll find the keys to the grid at the end of the post.


Here’s an open cloze that will help you get talking about the topic.

Created by blogdeserena

Use of English

C1-C2 Open cloze Building a career on being offensive

Read the text and  fill the blanks with ONE word.

Adapted from abc.net

Activity by Serena

In recent years, more and more comedians have landed 1)... strife over provocative humour. Think Dave Chappelle's jokes at the expense 2) ... the trans community … or Louis CK's, for 3) ... matter. So, where's the line 4) ... controversial comedy that has us 5) ... stitches and the kind that deserves condemnation? Some comedians believe there are limits to who can joke about what, but say that if we value freedom 6) ... speech, 7) ... topic should be taboo. From the mundane to self-deprecating, insulting to absurd, comedy, in all its forms, builds communities 8) ... laughter. For many, it's a bonding experience, a joyful, much-needed release. 9) ... depending on the type of comedy, that release can come at 10) ... expense.











Speak for a minute

The following presentation contains five statements that deal with the issue of placing limits on comedians’ content and freedom of speech. This is an amazing topic because we’re actually living in a society where even traditional fairy tales are being constantly “modified” according to different sets of ideas. Here are five papers. Read them and decide whether they side with freedom of speech without limits, or sustain that we should set boundaries.

First read the papers and decide what the speakers side with. After, choose a paper and think carefully about what you’d like to say. You should be able to make a contribution of approximately one minute. Tip: As this is practice, you may want to jot down a couple of ideas in order to help you organise them, but whatever you do, avoid writing down your whole contribution as the point here is to be able to make a short contribution using only using bullet points to guide you.

I’ve installed a stopwatch plugin so as to allow some control on time. This is the very first time I’m using it, so let’s see how it goes.

Keys to vocabulary grid

Related to bad taste or being cruel: scorn, taunt, crack, sneer.
Collocates with play: prank.
Quick, clever remark or a short joke: quip, wisecrack, gag, one-liner.
Exposes fault as a mean of criticism: satire.
Copies somebody or something making fun: skit, parody, spoof.
Shows the opposite of what the person means: sarcasm.
Involves behaving in a way that is found amusing: clown around, antic.
An action that intends to make sb/st look ridiculous: mockery.
Collocates with take: mickey, piss (to take the piss out of somebody is taboo slang, so careful!)
Makes jokes on word level: pun

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