Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Fraggle Rocker, Jan 17, 2008.
A few years back there was an advertising slogan in America: "You can rest when you're dead."
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From Kinky Friedman:
"The trouble with truth is, supply always exceeds demand."
"Love is not only blind, it also has attention deficit disorder."
"The cat, of course, said nothing. Too much dogma."
"Everything's funny if you wait long enough."
"What the hell, I thought. A sick sense of humor’s better than none at all.”
And one from Ogden Nash:
"We drive on a parkway and park on a driveway." - Steven Pinker, I think.
Sorry if already posted - I only went back a page.
I don't know who said it first, but we Americans usually credit it to our comedian Gallagher. It doesn't matter. The secret to being funny is not being able to think up funny stuff. It's being able to remember funny stuff you already heard, and repeat it correctly.
although you are older and have more experience sitting at bars and keeping the conversation exciting... it's sure a hell of a lot easier to keep laughs with previously recorded jokes. But it's just not pure, you know? And laughs are only good if you really appreciate them.
Probably not. I'm not much of a drinker and hanging out in bars is not my idea of a good time. Although as a musician I've seen the inside of quite a few. I'll go to a bar to dance to a live band, especially if my friends are playing, but not to sit around and get stupid. I have dogs for that. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
No, I'm not talking about being the life of the party or rattling off one-liners for the sole purpose of making people laugh. I'm talking about having a conversation and remembering a point somebody like George Carlin or Jon Stewart or John Cleese made, and made it a little better because he found a humorous side to the issue. Passing on the wisdom of Eric Idle and Steve Martin is just as valuable a service to civilization as the wisdom of Aristotle and Winston Churchill.
I'm not sure what "pure" humor is. Laughs are good because they release endorphins and make people feel better, at least temporarily. Of course laughing at someone's misfortune, which is the predominant type of humor these days at least here in America, is not something I'm very sanguine about. We all do it, we can't help it, we seem to be programmed to appeciate slapstick when it's one remove from the actual unfortunate event. But there are other types of humor that doesn't capitalize on anyone's suffering, or at least makes a more general comment on the human condition rather than an individual's misfortune.
Puns and other wordplay fall into that category. The joke about driving on parkways and parking in driveways, or the one about calling domiciles "apart"ments when they're all stuffed "together," or the one about how there seems to be no complementary condition of a thing being "in whack"... those are funny without anyone having to suffer.
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"An Elementary Particle is something so simple that one knows nothing whatever about it." -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
If I were sitting at home with my dogs and George Carlin, I would rather listen to him improvise and 'associate our current environment and conditions into our conversation' than listen him reciting an old act.
I agree it's good to pass on old wisdom, but generating wisdom on the fly is more relevant and startling. Pure humor has got shock value that practiced humor does not.
Maybe you can relate the difference in live music and cd`s?
BTW, I'm inventing some new terms like 'pure humor' but it's just to get my meaning across.
Search& Destroy, I concur completely. Pure humour is priceless and by that I mean original. Listening to an old hack trotting out tired old gags is worth a chuckle at best but new, fresh contemporary angles and observations are where the real cackles are to be had.
And Fraggle, I concur implicitly with your observation that the wisdom of Cleese, Martin, Idle etc. is as important to Man's history
as Churchill or Aristotle.
BTW, OilIsMastery is a particularly droll individual and his wisdom has been passed like an abiogenically produced kidney stone. If he goes on much longer, he'll be pissing diamonds and the skidmarks in his too high, white cotton 'y' fronts will be selling for $100 a barrel.
Michigan has lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs in 2008 alone, thus you find the following at UAW local 723 amoung the signs in the main hall, reading:
"A worker voting Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders''
"Out of a job yet? Keep voting Republican.''
McCain has given up on the "swing state" of Michigan - pulled his team entirely out of the state to deploy elsewhere.
Yes. But again, I'm not talking about the creative sense of humor I expect from a professional entertainer. I'm talking about what the average person says in the course of normal conversation that gives people a smile and makes them think, "He's funny." Being able to recall something witty and use it in a discussion so it helps shed new light on a subject.
Most people don't seem to be able to remember jokes, judging by how badly them mangle them when they try to repeat them. Sure, if a comedian recites the same 45-minute set that they heard him recite two months ago on another channel, they'll start to sound familiar. But if you toss a Lewis Black quote about tennis into a conversation about tennis--even giving Lewis Black the credit--they're likely to say something like, "Oh that was a great observation he made. I'm so glad you reminded me of it."
Not a good analogy. Good music bears up very well under repetition. My wife, the English major, assures me that good prose does too, in the very same way. She gets things out of it the second or third time through that she didn't notice before. Stand-up comedy doesn't usually work that way.
And you'd be surprised how few comedians can improvise. Writing humor is hard work. Steve Martin is absolutely terrible at ad libbing. They're intelligent people and they're good with words, so they can hold an animated conversation with you, but most of them won't be able to make it funny.
Even writing poor original humor is tough. I was impressed, even 50 years ago, how rapidly a good joke sweeps the country. I decide to try to write one and tell it to many and see if anyone told it to me later. (No one ever did, but will tell it again)
First thing I did was look for the characteristic of a good joke. I actually made an ordered list and gave some thought to the psychology. I do not remember much now, but No.1 on list was "Related to sex" & "about common human experiences, which are difficult or unpleasant" was high up on the list (lot of mother in law jokes, etc.) Other than noting laughing about something embarrassing or uncomfortable helps you to cope is all the psychology I have time for now.
Here is my genuinely bad, but at least original joke:
Prostitute, who was growing old, started reading help wanted adds to find a new line of work. At first she was very discouraged as most required "college degree" or "high typing speed", or "X years of sales experience in major firm" etc. but then she found the perfect job for her in a CIA ad - The CIA wanted a female Under Cover Agent.
At least you know why good a joke writer is well paid. That was the best I could do after several hours of analysis and thought. If you think it is easy try it and post it.
"The only crank I can see is the one firmly attached to your ego"
So I'll take that as noone got the the three gags in one oilIsMastery original..tough crowd at sci but that's been noted before.
There are some great ad libbers on sci..gustav, clusteringflux, Captain Kremmen, Bells, Dr. Lou, Vkothii, Myles, Orleander, Cosmic, draqon, Killjoy, Sniffy, ..plenty more. Redarmy for FFS!
As I said, people rarely even remember really good jokes from star comedians. Remembering one that is merely funny from the likes of us is very unlikely, so they're not going to be repeating it to anyone else. And even if they do it will be forgotten before it makes the rounds and comes back to you. So don't feel bad. The fact that you haven't heard your own joke doesn't mean they didn't think it was funny.
I prefer puns and other word jokes because they are the one form of humor that doesn't depend on someone else's misfortune. And oddly enough, I find that people remember them.
I thought that was a hoot. The kind of jokes we used to tell at Caltech. But you almost have to be a physics major to get it, not just a science groupie.
Again, that's a type of humor that doesn't revolve around someone's misfortune. "Elephant" jokes (What do you get if you cross an elephant or other humorous animal with a...?) were really big back around 1960, and another joke that was going around Caltech was: What do you get if you cross a grape with an elephant? Answer: Grape elephant cosine theta.
[laugh track plays loudly]
Then tell a couple of your all-time favorites. (You do remember them of course. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! )
O.K , that's all the encouragement I need.
Why did the elephant drink?
What do you get when you cross Fraggle Rocker with an elephant?
A keen linguistics moderator who works for peanuts.
( and remembers everything..everything!)
And what do you get when you cross Billy T with an elephant?
A old grey guy with a bank balance as fat as his arse is wide and a share portfolio as long as his trunk.
I'd come up with an elephant pun but ivory much doubt my chances.
So anyway, Fraggle Rocker was on the train.An Indian chap and his Pakistani friend were arguing.. Indian chap, head wobbling almost imperceptibly and doing delicate finger gesticulations " It's Woomb" and spells it out " W.O.O.M.B!...Woomb!"
The Pakistani fellow pulls at his luxuriant moustache.." No,no,no!..it's vomb! V.O.M.B"
Fraggle Rocker can't resist and pipes up " Excuse me gentlemen ( Fraggle is very polite) I couldn't help overhearing and seeing as I'm an editor and the moderator on a distinguished linguistics forum, I feel I should point out the correct spelling which is womb..W.O.M.B"
The two subcontinentals exchange puzzled looks then exclaim in unison.." It is clear our learned friend has never been hearing an elephant fart!'
"...then G a linear group of vector spaces V exists, with an ideal fiber F which is a locally trivial tangent bundle T on M a smooth differentiable manifold, which admits tensor products as functorials on pairs of fibers in the tangent bundle, ..."
Yeah, sure it does.
You blew me away with that one Spud. - It seems Fraggle does not know everything about words after all.
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