You know you're a deadhead when an off-beat article about a strange joke reminds you first of Bob Weir:
As cringe-worthy as they are, I always appreciated when Weir was willing to fill some space onstage with a joke. He would sometimes affect an ironic tone -- "ok, I guess someone's gotta be Mr. Show Biz right now" -- but just as often as not, it comes across more like a weird dude telling an awkward joke to fill some uncomfortable space. Of course, intended or not, his jokes probably elicited as many blank stares as they did chuckles or groans. Weir may have been joking more for the benefit of his bandmates than for his audience, but that doesn't matter -- in my mind, it makes them even better, given the context of a rock star resorting to tell a joke to cover for time in front of a large, expectant audience.
Even in print, the guy in the article tells the bee collection joke better than Bob did (I think, in Bob's version, the bees are in a box), but the effect is still the same. Might one make the leap to say that much like this joke, the Dead's music sometimes undercuts, subverts expectations, leads us along expected paths into something unfamiliar, expresses the inconsistencies of the heart so succinctly that laughter fades into reflection? Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke? Fuck 'em, it's just a hobby.