Friends & Sylvia,
I think this blog post was a great start on humor.
But, and this is a critique I have of most literature on humor, I feel it placed emphasis upon humor and laughter as being the same thing.
So, again, I felt this was a great blog. But, I have always looked for something a little bit more; I don’t know, maybe deeper into human psychology.
I will use a common example.
You are watching your friend walk on ice. He falls down and everyone laughs.
Actually, slap-stick, or vaudeville might be appropriate as well.
Let us go back to the ice. This time your old bully is trying to walk across, you help him.
He falls, breaks his arm, his neck, punctures a lung, and is frothing blood at the mouth.
Tragic? Should we cry?
Or, do we laugh.
Realize, my friends & Sylvia, there are several different factors here. First, the mechanism of humor and tragedy. And they are related. Both ‘shock us’ a little. One leads to lightheartedness and the other to heavy hearts. But, the mechanism is surprise after suspense.
Secondly, and this is where I could use the help of a Psychiatrist or a hundred.
What is the difference between humor, funny, and laughter, hilarious?
And lastly, this is where Sylvia was going – and I LOVE THIS.
What makes humor universal?
And everyone can help us answer that.
What is humor? Isn’t that an interesting question.
Picture this: a man stands on the stage and flaps his arms as if he has wings.
What joke did this man just tell in order to use this pantomime to demonstrate the punch-line?
Answer: “I just flew in from Chicago“…then a drum beat or two….”And boy, are my arms tired!”
Would you say that this scenario is an example of humor? Or would you describe it as what is commonly referred to as a ‘groaner’? Was this humorous when it first made the comedy rounds (Vaudeville era, maybe?), but perhaps no longer causes our humor synapses to fire? What do you think?
Which leads me back to the two million dollar question (this used to be the ‘million dollar question’, but due to inflation we’ve had to up its value): What is humor? Who decides what is…
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