Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 39

Thread: What is humor?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    1,905

    What is humor?

    I was thinking of this the other day. How do you distinguish between something which is funny and something lame? Does it depend on different people or different moods you have?

    And, what constitutes as being funny?

    Now getting more biological, what are the processes that make you laugh? What do all funny things have in common that cause you to, in extreme circumstances, spit coffee all over your monitor? Also, what is the evolutionary purpose of humor or laughter?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    13,423
    Dude! YOU'RE funny!






    * I have the feeling this is going to be a very complicated thread...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,831
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    What do all funny things have in common that cause you to, in extreme circumstances, spit coffee all over your monitor?
    The one thing that all those situations have in common is that they happen to me when I'm drinking coffee in front of my monitor.

    I'm a big fan of satirical, absurd humor. Monty Python, Sledge Hammer!, things like that.

    Evolutionary advantage? I don't know. One could say that because laughing feels good, people who can make others laugh would have higher reproductive opportunities, but that just begs the question of why laughing feels good (and why certain things make others laugh).
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    13,423
    Why do some people laugh when they see someone get hurt, walk into a tree or fall down then?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    3,068
    humour means a self generated action to receive a good laugh, our life is half if we don't create humour, in the behavioural aspects of the human being the evolution of humour was done when the things were going so boring, hence this art has came put forward. Humour is pretty nice even to release a good amount of stress to exit from the mind, humour also improves your laughing styles, a good excercise to the bones of jaw, and it create a nice impact on the mind to rest in a relaxing mood. I think if we hear some humour to the heart patient then it will assist him beautifully. Is it not !

    sunil

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    4,181
    What is humor? the short answer is "whatever people think is funny". The Man from Mars's answer was something on the line of celebrating the fallibility of humanity (been a while since I read Stranger in a Strange Land).

    What is it biologically? We have a fight-or-flight instinct, a predisposition to do violence for self- and species-preservation, or to run away or hide or threaten violence in hopes of causing the threat to run or hide. Any instinct is going to come with side effects--something that is a hint of a threat is gong to give a hint of a response. A joke could easily be a hint of a threat, and laughing so hard you faint may be the hint of the fight-or-flight response to that threat.

    The same goes for being ticklish, and explains why you can't tickle yourself. If you could, you'd give yourself away to predators every time you moved.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    1,395
    What is OJ Simpsons favorite soft drink?

    Slice!

    Heard on TV last night. I thought it was funny. Plays on words are funny to me. As far as why humans laugh and why different people laugh at different things - I can't even pretend to know. I'm just glad we do.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    11,057
    I think a lot of humour is the result of tension between expectations and what you actually get.

    Some humour is lame because it assumes you're expecting a certain thing, but you've already worked out what you're going to get, either because you've heard it before, or because it is obvious.

    The amount of tension required seems to increase with age. Riddles used to make me laugh as a child. "What runs around a field but doesn't move?" "A hedge." Now I might think, "Hmm, that's quite clever - it's deliberately using 'run' to suggest the action of moving your legs at speed, but it turns out to be the other meaning of run after all." (No, I wouldn't actually think that.)

    No idea what the evolutionary advantage was.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    13,423
    Quote Originally Posted by Spock Jenkins View Post
    What is OJ Simpsons favorite soft drink?

    Slice!

    Heard on TV last night. I thought it was funny. Plays on words are funny to me. As far as why humans laugh and why different people laugh at different things - I can't even pretend to know. I'm just glad we do.
    I don't think the Goldman family would find it humorous.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Why do some people laugh when they see someone get hurt, walk into a tree or fall down then?


    Someone did explain that reaction to me as "I'm glad that wasn't me".. but I'm not convinced, some people find the sickest things funny


    David

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    1,395
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    I don't think the Goldman family would find it humorous.
    Don't be such a priss

    To find some things funny - there needs to be a willingness to seperate reality from the joke. I find some off-color humor quite funny, even at my own expense. That goes back to my comment about not knowing why one thing makes one person laugh and the same thing offends another.

    How was copper wire invented?

    Two Hollanders fighting over a penny.

    Can I tell that joke because my ancestry is mostly Dutch? Would other Dutch people be offended by the joke? I happen to fit the stereotype and live as a very cheep Hollander. I still find the joke funny - picturing two people pulling at a penny until it stretches into wire.

    How was the Grand Canyon formed?

    A Hollander dropped a nickle down a gopher hole.

    Funny. I know I'd go after the nickle as well. Should people be limited to telling those jokes as long as they are a part of the group? African American comedians come to mind. Seinfeld did an episode about a comedian that converted to Judaism for the jokes. Is that okay?

    So far I liked Paul Beardsley's definition the best.

  12. 2007-Nov-07, 05:09 PM
    Reason
    Double post

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    13,423
    Quote Originally Posted by Spock Jenkins View Post
    Don't be such a priss
    <chuckle>
    ETA: WEIRD! I had typed right here about how I was pointing out that TRS' OP had mentioned that whether or not something is funny depends on the situation and mood- And when the post finished submitting- that part was completely GONE!

    It honestly is a tough question. I'm off today anyway- So I'm googling the chemistry behind it. (Well, not entirely off- I have one job around 2 o'clock) to see if maybe we can find a scientific reason- then maybe speculate on the evolutionary.

    Humor is such a broad topic- and so varied- it really is hard to nail it.

    ETA 2: Ugh, now it double posted... Deleting the first one now... I'm having a BAUT day...

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    4,446
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Why do some people laugh when they see someone get hurt, walk into a tree or fall down then?
    Don't know. But it can be pretty funny. There was a good scene in the movie Quest for Fire about physical humor and how it can be learned.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    13,423
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucson_Tim View Post
    Don't know. But it can be pretty funny. There was a good scene in the movie Quest for Fire about physical humor and how it can be learned.

    I've seen that movie

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,168
    I still find that seen from "Only fools and horses" where Del Trotter falls through the bar hatch hilarious.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Nowhere (middle)
    Posts
    37,136
    Humor can also be non-spontaneous; how often have you anticipated a punchline/sightgag, known it was coming, and still laughed? I re-watch comedy movies I've seen a dozen times and still find them funny.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    4,446
    How about "The Aristocrats" joke? This joke is guaranteed to divide people on what's funny and what's not.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    13,423
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucson_Tim View Post
    How about "The Aristocrats" joke? This joke is guaranteed to divide people on what's funny and what's not.
    tell it

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    4,446
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    tell it
    Yeah, when I want to get banned. It can be found in wiki.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    13,423
    Quote Originally Posted by Tucson_Tim View Post
    Yeah, when I want to get banned. It can be found in wiki.
    ahhh gotcha...

    At first I thought that Wiki was ruining it by setting it up that way...

    But I think if someone told me that joke- I still wouldn't find it funny at all.

  22. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    4,446
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    ahhh gotcha...

    At first I thought that Wiki was ruining it by setting it up that way...

    But I think if someone told me that joke- I still wouldn't find it funny at all.
    There's a whole movie about "The Aristocrats" joke, with dozens of famous comedians: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0436078/

    ETA: BTW, I haven't given my opinion on the joke - and won't.
    Last edited by Tucson_Tim; 2007-Nov-07 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Disclaimer

  23. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    13,886
    "Tragedy is when I cut my finger; Comedy is when you fall in an open manhole and die." -Mel Brooks.

    Mel is right, and Paul basically says the same thing. I've also read that humor/laughter is some sort of interrupted fight/flight reflex.

    The question of why is feels so good is down there with the question of why anything feels good.

  24. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    18,371
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    Now getting more biological, what are the processes that make you laugh? What do all funny things have in common that cause you to, in extreme circumstances, spit coffee all over your monitor? Also, what is the evolutionary purpose of humor or laughter?
    Here's an article (pdf) on the subject:

    http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/ep04347366.pdf

    Mostly, there's a lot unknown about it.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  25. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Nowhere (middle)
    Posts
    37,136
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    Also, what is the evolutionary purpose of humor or laughter?
    Not everything has an evolutionary purpose, unless it effects survival and/or reproduction. There might just be no evolutionary pressure to get rid of a mutational quirk.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  26. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,944
    Laughter is the best medicine as they say.

    A humor depends of what kind of personality you have and from what culture or country you came from.

    There are some jokes that maybe funny to the other but not to another.

    And there are different categories of those I think , depends of the age or group.


  27. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    I was thinking of this the other day. How do you distinguish between something which is funny and something lame? Does it depend on different people or different moods you have?

    And, what constitutes as being funny?

    Now getting more biological, what are the processes that make you laugh? What do all funny things have in common that cause you to, in extreme circumstances, spit coffee all over your monitor? Also, what is the evolutionary purpose of humor or laughter?
    -------------------------------------------------------
    Thank God, I am not interested in inquiring the psychological, sociological, and biological bases of humor, as if I did, it would leave me no time to write
    humor or laugh at the jokes and wit of my friends at our daily meetings at the
    cafe.

  28. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wyoming
    Posts
    1,412
    Humor is a state of mind. It is the willingness to accept the “turn of a phrase” or “an unexpected outcome” as comical. Humor is based almost exclusively upon a clever adaptation of ordinary human responses to an extraordinary situation, or the extraordinary responses of ordinary humans to an ordinary situation. Most often, it is the latter. Humor then becomes the relief of the typical person when they realize that the situation is not what they feared, but is a actually a relatively mundane response to an otherwise ordinary situation.
    Speed of light = 1.802,265,898 MegaFurlongs / MicroFortnight

  29. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    11,057
    Quote Originally Posted by Askin View Post
    -------------------------------------------------------
    Thank God, I am not interested in inquiring the psychological, sociological, and biological bases of humor, as if I did, it would leave me no time to write
    humor or laugh at the jokes and wit of my friends at our daily meetings at the
    cafe.
    That might be true for you, but frankly I think it's one of those myths that gets put about.

    I'm fascinated by the "mechanics" of humour, but I do not feel this diminishes my enjoyment of jokes at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  30. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,094
    Humour is something that is different in many people, it depends on topic and our inner child. I would imagine that most men would find a loud passing of wind to be funny whereas a women would not.

  31. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    3,068
    Humourous tips, talks, notes, comics, magzines all are welcome in the travel, the travelling may be easy if we accompany such stuff with us. It assist in killing our time in a better fassion to avoid the travel stress.

Similar Threads

  1. IQs humor
    By eric_marsh in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 2009-Aug-28, 08:33 PM
  2. For once, legislature with humor.
    By HenrikOlsen in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 2007-Feb-28, 02:43 AM
  3. Corporate Humor
    By sarongsong in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: 2007-Jan-16, 01:27 PM
  4. Does God have a sense of humor?
    By cosmic_notion in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 2006-Mar-11, 09:39 PM
  5. Humor
    By blueshift in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 2005-Apr-24, 01:32 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •