Want to hear a great joke? Apparently Michael Jackson used to be black .. and then he turned white! Hysterical! There’s more — Michael Jackson — wait for it — used to touch little boys! Outrageous! I can barely type for the tears of hilarity streaming down my face. Also, have you heard the one about how Michael Jackson — get this — was really weird? Wow, it’s exhausting keeping up this kind of non-stop comedic riffing.

If there is one good thing to come out of Jackson’s death — and I think those good folk who make their living in the noble art of sticking cameras in ambulance windows would agree there’s more than one — it’s that maybe we can finally look forward to a future without Michael Jackson jokes. Unfortunately, the death itself means we have to be subject to a concentrated tsunami of said jokes before we can move on; the storm before the calm, if you will.

Tasteless jokes in the wake of a famous death are, of course, only to be expected. Some experts say that humour is our way of dealing with the trauma of death. Other experts say that people are, deep down, vicious unfeeling pigs. But whatever the explanation, I have no problem with the phenomenon. After all, if you can’t have a chuckle when the tragic life of a complete stranger come to a shocking and premature end, when can you?

No, it’s not the bad taste that offends me, it’s the bad comedy.

That’s why an overwhelming sense of depression washed over me as I sat before my computer on that fateful morning. The jokes were coming thick and fast; the laughs, alas, were not. “At least they won’t have waste money on embalming him,” I read. Ha! Get it? Because of the plastic surgery! He had lots! It made him look funny! Black-white! Sex with kids! Macaulay Culkin etc!

And they kept coming. The skin colour jokes, the paedophile jokes, the Bubbles jokes. I gave a pass mark to those reporting that Jackson’s doctors had blamed it on the boogie, but the rest of the commentary was so devoid of humour that anyone wanting a laugh on the internet that day was forced to turn to crying teenagers on fan forums.

The thing is, without wanting to offend anyone out there who was under the impression that their own Jackson joke marked them as the most witty and original comic mind since the retirement of Ozzie Ostrich, those jokes stopped being funny quite some time ago. Shortly after John Howard impressions lost their sting, in fact, and just before the demise of gaslights. Why not try a bit more creativity? Why not more jokes about his duets with Paul McCartney? Why not more Tito puns? Why not more amusing Gary, Indiana references?

Anyone who has worked in comedy knows that the number-one cause of human misery is people who think they’re funny, and Jackson’s death only confirmed it. However, as a professional writer, I am naturally most concerned with how the issue affects me personally.

Now, I’ve always been concerned about my own mortality. Will death be painful? Is there an afterlife? What if I die having never appeared on Dancing With The Stars? And so on. But this Jackson thing has just added another, rather chilling worry to my long list: what if the jokes people make about my death are really cliched and unfunny? I would hate it if my legacy to the world was a widespread inclination for banality. I would hope that when the multitude of fans that I assume I will have by then start making callous and heartless cracks about my tragic end, they will have the decency to make them entertaining.

To that end, I hereby declare this my living humour will. Firstly, jokes about my weight, bad hair and Billy Joel collection should be avoided at all costs. Jokes about my obsession with Anne of Green Gables and inability to whistle are acceptable — the latter particularly so should I die in some kind of coal-mining accident. Jokes drawing some kind of connection between my death and my morbid fear of ladders are strongly encouraged. Any jokes making fun of my surname will result in lawsuits from my estate.

Please remember, on the occasion of my death, you have a unique opportunity to engage in enjoyably crass mockery causing deep and lasting hurt to my loved ones. Don’t waste it! Michael wouldn’t have wanted you to.