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At work we were discussing a topic that ended up being offensive and funny at the same time. As a result of this discussion, we decided we need to know if there is an adjective that would mean the something is both offensive and funny.

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    'Scurrilous' and 'outrageous' are adjectives often applied to comedians; in that context they carry a sense of mischief as well as shock, but not hilarity necessarily. – JHCL Oct 1 '15 at 14:15
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    Actually my sources which refer to specific individuals also have "generally offensive" as alternate meanings, so maybe it can work both ways after all, I still think off-color is better, see my comment on @EricHauenstein's answer – Max Williams Oct 1 '15 at 15:36
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    What's wrong with tasteless? – Joshua Oct 1 '15 at 22:18
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    @Joshua Tasteless doesn't indicate humor, sadly. – Nakaan Oct 1 '15 at 22:18
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    Offensive and funny? I usually call that "funny". =) – corsiKa Oct 2 '15 at 16:09

10 Answers 10

16

(As suggested following my earlier comment) Scurrilous:

Humorously insulting: a very funny collection of bawdy and scurrilous writings (-- Oxford Dictionaries Online)

I think it suggests mischief rather than hilarity, but it may be as close as you'll get. Humour and Horror aren't natural bedfellows (which is why the combination can be so delicious).

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  • Scurrilous! Most excellent. I wish I had thought of that. – Eric Hauenstein Oct 1 '15 at 14:53
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    Scurrilous means insulting to a particular person, though, which often is not the case with offensive humour, eg when it targets a group of people, eg racist, homophobic, sexist etc material. For example, jokes about Barack Obama could be called scurrilous, but jokes about African Americans as a group could not correctly be called scurrilous. – Max Williams Oct 1 '15 at 15:02
  • @Max Williams - you may be right; can you point to a reference for 'insulting to a particular person'? – JHCL Oct 1 '15 at 15:15
  • I'm not sure what you mean, sorry. Do you mean an example of where someone insulted a particular person? – Max Williams Oct 1 '15 at 15:24
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    @Max Willaims I agree with Max Williams as it has more negative and obscene connotation than funny and offensive. – user140086 Oct 1 '15 at 15:40
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Off-Color is the expression usually used for jokes and humor that has a substantial and generally recognized offensive element. Link-MW

Bawdy could also work, if the humor is offensive due to sexual content. Link-MW

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    Off-color (or off-colour for us brits) is the best option i think. It nicely conveys the fact that this joke isn't suitable for polite company and that it is likely to cause offense to a large portion of the population. – Max Williams Oct 1 '15 at 15:05
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    @Nakaan I don't see anything that indicates "funny" element in Merriam-Webster. It might be said after something funny is uttered to mean the joke was a bit offensive, but you cannot mean it was funny by saying it was off-color. – user140086 Oct 1 '15 at 15:45
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    @Rathony You're right, it doesn't directly mean funny and it's normally used in the context of "off-color joke" so it doesn't quite fit the situation I'm referencing directly. That said, in my experience it's understood that off-color references humor. Your mileage may vary. – Nakaan Oct 1 '15 at 15:49
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    It's a small leap since "off-color" does not by definition mean funny as well as improper but it is a generally understood expression used with extreme regularity among native speakers when referring to comedy routines or jokes. Sorry to disagree @Rathony but "Off-color" is main stream where "hilariously offensive" is not. – Kristina Lopez Oct 1 '15 at 16:09
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    Mainstream doesn't mean the same thing as "exclusive", though here's the NGRAM chart comparing use of "off-color" vs. "hilariously offensive": books.google.com/ngrams/… – Kristina Lopez Oct 1 '15 at 16:44
10

Ribald seems to fit.

referring to sexual matters in an amusingly rude or irreverent way.

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9

I can come up with "coarse humor"

"She found the coarse humor of her coworkers offensive."

or

"grossly comic" means that in addition to being funny, something is also rude and offensive.

e.g.

Did you find the play funny ?

Yes, funny, grossly funny.

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9

Consider,

risqué

verging on impropriety or indecency: off-color : risqué jokes

Merriam-Webster

racy

Slightly improper or indelicate; suggestive; risqué : a racy joke

Dictionary.com

blue

Off-color, risqué : blue jokes

Merriam-Webster

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  • Note that racy may be confused with race-y, meaning racist, especially if spoken – Zach Saucier Oct 1 '15 at 19:20
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    These are fairly specific to material that is sexually improper or indecent. If the joke is offensive for some other reason, risqué or racy would not apply so well. – Nate Eldredge Oct 1 '15 at 19:51
  • Neither of those would apply to dead-baby comedy, which is generally considered both offensive and funny. – Mark Oct 1 '15 at 21:20
  • @Mark Dead-baby comedy would be a form of black comedy. – JAB Oct 2 '15 at 15:52
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I'm not sure there's a exact match for this but outrageous has the correct connotations --it has a literal sense of offensive, but is often used in reference to things that are funny ("outrageously funny").

shockingly bad or excessive.
wildly exaggerated or improbable.
very bold, unusual, and startling.
https://www.google.com/webhp?q=outrageous

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2

"Offunsive" - because it's fun and offensive.

(okay so it's not a real word, so what? how do you think new words get made?)

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  • My coworkers and I like this answer. If it were real it would be the accepted answer. Take your +1 and spend it wisely. – Nakaan Oct 2 '15 at 20:01
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The word edgy seems to fit this description fairly well from my own observations of how others have used it, although I think that may be a a result of a seemingly recent shift of the usage of the word rather than it's original intent.

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1

Hilariously offensive describes something offensive and funny at the same time. You can visit the Forbes Magazine link to see what it means.

When you google it, you will find a lot of hits that show how some pictures and words are hilariously offensive.

Hilarious means "very funny" and it is broadly used by U.S. comedians and media because of its pronunciation.

I don't think one adjective is enough to express it.

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Sarcastic: using or showing sarcasm.

Definition of sarcasm:

  • sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
  • a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual, e.g. an offensive weapon.

Also derisive (characterized by or expressing derision; ridiculing; mocking)

Use the adjective derisive to describe something or someone that mocks, expresses contempt, or ridicules. You may sometimes catch your kids making derisive comments — especially if you ask them to do chores instead of whatever they think is more important. Source: vocabulary.com

EDIT1 (to respond to a comment stating that sarcasm isn't offensive):

The above definition of "sarcasm" indicates that it is "usually directed against an individual", whilst offensive is defined as "characterized by attack; aggressive".

EDIT2 (to respond to a comment stating that derisive cannot be funny):

"Derision" definition by MW:

  • the use of ridicule or scorn to show contempt;
  • a state of being laughed at or ridiculed: a state of being derided.

"Ridicule" definition by MW: the act of making fun of someone or something in a cruel or harsh way; harsh comments made by people who are laughing at someone or something.

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    Sarcasm isn't offensive that I've ever heard (ignoring edge case of a sensitive person) and derisive isn't funny (again ignoring certain edge cases). – Nakaan Oct 2 '15 at 20:03
  • @Nakaan: Do you have the sense of humour? Do you think that "funny" and "humoristic" are not related? - Extract of Cambridge dictionary: a sarcasm is used to ​criticize something in a ​humorous way. For example "You have been ​working hard," he said with ​heavy sarcasm, as he ​looked at the ​empty ​page. Extract of Wikipedia (Humour): Most people are able to experience humour—be amused, smile or laugh at something funny—and thus are considered to have a sense of humour. – Graffito Oct 2 '15 at 21:23

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