This article is dedicated to humorous audio-visual lockdown works—that is, to short video clips with humorous content that were produced and circulated during the first Corona lockdown in spring 2020. The exploration of the video clips takes place within an autoethnographic approach. It will be examined what kind of humor was included in the videos I received in my WhatsApp bubble. By a rough division of recurring motifs, two exemplary analyses, and research results on humor from clinical psychology, I will describe the humor as complex coping humor. A further question relates to the functions the humorous audio-visual lockdown works were equipped with within the communication space of which I, myself, was a part of. Roger Odin’s semio-pragmatic approach serves as a starting point for first reflections on the functions which the audio-visual lockdown works were able to deploy. Against the background of Odin’s concept of reading modes and communication operators, the humorous audio-visual lockdown works will be conceptualized as relational experience operators. By utilizing social psychological approaches to the study of humor, the videos will furthermore be conceptualized as stress-buffer operators. The videos were used to unleash the communicative energy necessary for the production of a relational affirmation of a shared present, for mutual relief, and for a collective buffer against stress. Finally, I discuss that the humorous audio-visual lockdown works document the positive power of humor, community building, and care and, at the same time, reference a life that is characterized by specific privileges.
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