Humour; What makes a joke funny?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Quantum Quack, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Just thought I'd explore this hmmmmm...strange yet marvelous aspect of human nature and how humour is so important to our mental and physical health.

    So what makes a joke funny?

    What is it about humour that seems to escape the eye of the philosopher? Are we so serious in our contemplations that we sometimes loose the ability laugh at ourselves?

    care to discuss?
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  3. Light Registered Senior Member

    First off, humor is a stress/tension reducer.

    What makes a joke funny can be several factors but normally a commonality is that it presents something unexpected and often contains a twist of logic or illogic.

    For example, someone is reading a headline that says "12 Brazilian soldiers killed." And then asks, "How many is a Brazilian?"
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  5. alain du hast mich Registered Senior Member

    theres a million reasons, including
    plot twists

    or were you asking why we find things such as the above funny?
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  7. Serb87 Banned Banned

    Humour is something i've come to think of as based upon Evil. Evil is an overstatement though, lets just regard it as bad. I just cant help but crack up when i see someone collapse from a chair or fall awkwardly(bad). Insults(bad). Have you noticed that there are hardly any jokes based upon a positive outcome for everyone? If any? I know theres alot dont get me wrong, but which ones are actualy funny and well intentioned? Seriously unless there is someone or something experiencing any type of embaresment or pain would you realy crack up?

    Maybe its late at night, maybe i just know nothing but filthy jokes. If i'm wrong please post a joke here that is firstly funny, and results in a positive or neutral outcome for everyone. Neutral not as in, bad for everyone... it cannot be in a bad way.
  8. devils_reject Registered Senior Member

    The sense of humor is our 7th sense if you will. Like all other senses it varies from time, situation, place, previous experience, and mood. Ultimately I think its the body's way of relaxing, usually the nerves simmer down when opening a conversation with a good laugh.
  9. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

    Space ghost.
  10. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

    Some is, but my all time favourite is so lame it's funny. A Joe Pasqaule (so that puts people off from the start) when he comes onto to stage with a step ladder. "See this, it's my step ladder. My real one left when I was 3"
    It's not the cruelty of being abandoned at age 3 that's funny, but the forced reinterpretation of "step" that causes the laugh. Sad, but it gets me every time.
  11. Onefinity Registered Senior Member

    Here's a related question: what do you imagine was the "first" time that a person (or some other animal, if other animals can laugh) laughed from humor? (Rather than from tickling).
  12. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member


    Space ghost.
  13. SativaDiva Registered Senior Member

    In my opinion, what makes a joke funny or not is
    -the way it's demostrated
    -the way it appeals to the listener
    -the compatibility between the individuals senses of humor
    -the mood people are in, which could blend easily with my first three thoughts.
  14. esoterik_appeal H. pylori Registered Senior Member

    timing >.<

    the funniest things are ones that you don't see coming but the realization of the humor is nearly instantaneous.

    and how could you see comedy as basically evil? everyone should be the butt of a great joke from time to time. it helps to retain one's humility. people who get extremely embarrassed or angry when the subject of a tasteful and timely joke are just insecure.

    i guess that stems from the one facet of our culture here in the States that bugs me more than most: our imagined "right to not be offended".

    it was Muhammad Ali who said, "There are no jokes. The truth is the funniest joke of all." and he sure is right.
  15. SativaDiva Registered Senior Member

    Ahhh, yes! Timing! I had forgotten that one.
  16. Onefinity Registered Senior Member

  17. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member


  18. Yes but would the actually pertinent question there not be "How did they know these soldiers all had Brazilians, and what business did anyone have exactly in checking the condition of their collective man-bushes to begin with?"

    What sort a Kree-ayzee, bugged-out world is it were living in here, Light?! :bugeye:
  19. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Even though I posted this thread I had no real idea of what the answer may be. Now after a little thought, I have come to the tentative conclusion that Humour is a product of empathy. The use of absurdity to highlight that which we can empathise with.
    What is empathy?
    The ability to visualise or imagine yourself in the same position.
    The ability to reflect the feelings of others imaginary or real.

    With out empathy no humour would be found.

    A while ago in another thread [ A ship by Prince_James] I proposed that identity was rooted in reflective awareness and cosnciousness. I proposed a machine model incorporating a number of robots that were able to access continuous data feeds from all other robots. Thus generating a state where superficially a robot is capable of empathy. [ by knowing the complete state of all other robots and comparing that state with it's own]

    So in ways humour is evidence of empathy.

    In humans how is this empathy actually possible with out some direct connectivity between people?

    If this connectivity did not exist would we still laugh or would we consider it all a mere logical fiction.

    The realness of our humour expereince, I feel, can only be achieved by this direct connectivity and not just a product of logical assessment from ordinary sensing. After all doesn't "logicifying" a joke render the joke impossible to inspire the feelings it is supposed to inspire.

    "Explaining the Joke just kills the fun"

    So can humour be fully explained logically or is it more an emotional response to an understanding and empathy derived like in the robot scenario from direct comparison?
  20. Wouldn't it be far easier to just acknowledge, rather than define, that humour is the most well rounded of all possible means of simply communication.

    Deliver a well reasoned thesis on The nature of nuclear fusion and thermonuclear decay in stellar bodies to a room full of 1000 people and perhaps two out of that 1000 actually understand what the title means, let alone gets the gist of what it is you actually say.

    Begin the address "So, the other day I was out in the garden and the Sun shat on me..." and still only two people out of that 1000 may actually know where you're going with that, but at least the other 998 are perfectly prepared to listen and find out.

    First and foremost, humour is always a means of gaining control by gaining attention.
  21. Roman Banned Banned

    What's a Jewish delimma?

    Free ham.
  22. Y'see, my very point in actual case. I am now completely within Romans thrall, incapable of doing anything except thy bidding...

  23. trafficlight Registered Member

    still funny

    someone said "empathy is showing that you care when you don't really give a damn"
    humour is a gift to be shared and it is free!!
    people who give nothing away and believe that there time is oh so precious are the people thet miss out on the joy of laughter.This world has alot to answer for.Look how easily little children can see the funny side of almost anything(not usually evil).As we supposedly mature "self" denies us this simple pleasure.Things don't appear to be as funny so we have to add canned laughter!
    my son looked up at the night sky and saw the moon and excitedly stated "look the moon" we then walked round to the other side of the house losing sight of the moon momentarily. when he looked up again in that same excited tone he exclaimed "Look,another one!"
    ]Look deep inside It is still there.Laugh again....

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