Thomas Nagel is a prominent philosopher who explores why we feel like life is absurd in the essay The Absurd. Nagel has several points in his essay, however only two will be discussed. Firstly, that something is only absurd when it is contrasted with something serious or significant. Secondly, humans can only experience feeling like life is absurd due to our self-consciousness and search for meaning. While Nagel does not apply any of his analysis to comedy, these two points can be examined in reference to the television series Rick and Morty (2013-present).
Society puts great importance on intelligence and intellectual capability. This societal significance of intelligence creates a feeling of absurdity for Jerry. Jerry is self-conscious of his lack of intelligence especially compared to Rick. Rick is a genius and able to create a robot during breakfast, while Jerry wants to use crayons for a science fair project. Society’s emphasis on intelligence and the difference between Rick and Jerry’s causes Jerry to feel absurd. This situation creates absurdity for the characters, but humour for the audience. We can all relate to Jerry’s feelings of absurdity, but laugh at what Jerry does due to these feelings.
The second point discussed in Nagel’s essay is the idea that only humans can experience absurdity because of our self-consciousness and pursuit of meaning. The robot that Rick creates has a self-conscious and desires to know its purpose. It asks Rick what its purpose is and Rick responds with, “You pass butter”. The robot feels like its life is absurd because its purpose was to pass the butter to Rick. The robot represents how people feel like their lives are absurd and have no higher purpose. The punch line comes when the robot signs, “Oh my God” and Rick responses with “Welcome to the club pal”.
Rick and Morty explores the idea of feeling like life is absurd and without purpose. Though Nagel’s analysis does not reference comedy, absurdity can create humour. This is evident in Rick and Morty and how sometimes we can all feel like our only purpose is to pass the butter.
 Thomas Nagel, “The Absurd”, The Journal of Philosophy Vol. 68, No. 20 (1971), p.722
 Ibid, 725.