I don’t think irony’s meant to synergize with anything as heartfelt as sadness. I think the main function of contemporary irony is to protect the speaker from being interpreted as naive or sentimental [but] commercial comedy’s often set up to feature an ironist making devastating sport of someone who’s naive or sentimental or pretentious or pompous.
People fall so in love with their pain, they can’t leave it behind. The same as the stories they tell. We trap ourselves.
True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.
I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ‘Catch-22′
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
Not bad! Rest in peace!”
- Kurt Vonnegut