The Video starts with a woman and a man, both dressed in black. He wears a straw hat. She has very long hair. He turns his back to the camera. She situates herself in front of him, facing the viewer, then bends at the waist, flipping her hair over. She moves her shoulders slightly. Together, the two people … look like a horse. Her hair is the tail. Her shoulders are the rump. That is the extent of the joke. They saunter, a ridiculous centaur, as “A Horse With No Name” plays in the background.
I can’t stop thinking about that video, in part because it requires so little in the way of thinking. It’s one of the many small jokes I’ve been turning to when I need to turn away from the news: The Adele concert attended—and “performed”—by gummy bears. Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Wedding portrait re-created with the help of a quilted comforter and a plastic bucket. The toilets that have been converted into brooding smokers. These bite-size jokes, punch lines devoid of setups, flourish on TikTok and Twitter and Instagram and Marco Polo. They’re short and silly and, above all, detached from the world’s events. They allow their viewers, for a moment, to forget about the things that might otherwise occupy their minds: The tents in Central Park. The burial pits. The caregivers who work without proper masks. The lost work. The overwork. The funerals that cannot be held. The loved ones who cannot be held. All the ways, right now, people are suffering.