According to Wikipedia, dark humour is “a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss.”
The meaning of dark humour can vary from person to person. For me, it consists of jokes about life that are told in a very distressing manner. However, nowadays people try to pass off racist, homophobic and misogynist comments as ‘dark humour’. If just saying gaalis (curse words) was funny, then all comedians would simply copy Hindustani Bhau (a popular Indian internet personality) instead of working on their act or performance.
For today’s generation, the idea of humour has completely changed. Kids think that swearing is what makes them cool and funny. Dark humour is calling your diabetic husband ‘sugar’, and not being toxic towards minorities. People who appreciate dark humour will know the difference between real dark humour, and those who are being unfunny provocateurs.
Dark humour is something that has to be somewhat clever, and bring up taboo topics for discussion. However, being provocative for the sake of being provocative does not do anything for anybody. If you are trying to engage in dark humour, please make sure to include a punchline. Nowadays, punchlines might as well wear the garb of blatant homophobic and transphobic remarks, which is quite disheartening.
Poorly-worded jokes cannot be called “dark humour”, as they can hurt someone’s feelings. Similarly, calling those you offend “snowflakes” and belittling their feelings does not make you a comedian, only a distasteful and insensitive person.
Dark humour specifically targets taboo topics, which may be ‘dark’ in nature. Aspects of life such as death and suicide fall under this category. It does not necessarily have to be offensive or shocking. Offensive humour is purely meant to offend, and need not necessarily be dark or shocking. Shock humour is purely based on shock value, something which is unexpected.
It is important, for us as sensible human beings, to know the difference.