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  1. #21

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    Got this response on another forum that makes sense to me.

    Originally Posted by Haphazard

    Humor has to do with a brain misfire, I've heard.

    It sets up a situation that makes sense and that veers off route. This is part of the idea that 'situation and then something unexpected'. It's also situational comedy, because where something is in the situation that's known as normal to an everyday person, it can proven absurd by the comedian. Again, brain misfire. Then you laugh.

    What tends to be even funnier is the disconnect between two things that make sense, but connect between in nonsense. That's how most jokes go, anyway. The punchline is funny not because it's nonsense, but because it's unexpected and yet still makes perfect sense.

    Or something like that.

  2. #22
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Something is funny when:

    The expectation of the language/theme defies our typical experience in such a way as to provide an evocative mixture of appreciation and amusement.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Grayscale's Avatar
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    peculiar + interesting (interest being the spectrum of relatable <=> relatable+potential... and just for shits and giggles, intrigue is a high ratio of sensed potential to relatability)


    fan at a comedian performance: "that's sooo true!", peculiar concept that is relatable. simplest form of humor.

    watching someone run into a glass door... peculiar, relatable, but the experience of watching is funny (as compared to the concept) because of the potential (the person smacking their face, the reaction, the nosebleed, etc) and by potential, i mean potential for additional elements of the first form of humor


    look at the elements themselves... peculiar without interest (or its foundation in relatability) is just weird and not funny. "i like to eat dirt" "huh? weird"

    something that is particularly interesting (relatable w/ potential) isnt necessarily funny... business, romantic prospects?

    relatable... verifiable but boring. "you are a human being" "yeah... so?"

  4. #24
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanlittlechimp View Post
    This might be a stretch but here goes.

    When you mock someone and call them names, it is surprise that someone is that rude and direct. Some people witnessing it are shocked and they laugh. The initial idea of thinking of a slower zombie (aren't they all supposed to be the same) might make some laugh. Going to the well again, makes you remember the funny moment so you re-live the memory of it (even if it's no longer a surprise).
    I think the better explanation is that we laugh when we see that tense situations are actually safe. Surprise contains an element of embarrassment that is relieved. In lots of jokes, there's pressure to get the joke. When we understand what happened (how the speaker twisted language or a scenario) there's tension relieved. People being mocked is "funny" because the tension isn't serious. If it were (someone getting bitched out, for example) we wouldn't be laughing but watching attentively.

    So I don't dispute that surprise is often an element, but it goes a bit deeper, imo. You can read interesting stuff about laughter by Desmond Morris in The Naked Ape. Possibly Peoplewatching, too (same author).

  5. #25
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    Who cares what makes something funny? If it is funny, then it is funny. I know people who laugh at me when I just speak enthusiastically (I'm funny by nature But anyway, just enjoy the humor when it comes.

  6. #26
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanlittlechimp View Post
    This might be a stretch but here goes.

    When you mock someone and call them names, it is surprise that someone is that rude and direct. Some people witnessing it are shocked and they laugh.
    This is not why people laugh in the case of mocking. Edahn is right in that humor is a way to relieve tension (although not the only way). In this case a person is tense because they loathe something or find it annoying and mocking it is one way to relieve tension. Surprise is also another way to relieve tension, because to surprise someone you have to build up to the surprise and that builds tension.

    The initial idea of thinking of a slower zombie (aren't they all supposed to be the same) might make some laugh. Going to the well again, makes you remember the funny moment so you re-live the memory of it (even if it's no longer a surprise).

    If one gets sexually turned on because they remember a hot chick licking the back of their neck, they might still pop a woody. But does it mean that something else is causing the reaction other than the original experience?
    This is a bad analogy because being surprised is not like being turned on. A person can be turned on by the same thing over and over again, but they can't be surprised by the same thing over and over again. If you relive a surprise in your memory then it is not going to surprise you the second time.

    Which reminds of the old standby that makes ALL babies laugh - the peekaboo game. You put your hands over your eyes, and pull them away "surprise!" your eyes are there again. They never tire of that one. Eventually as they get older most do tire of it, because it's no longer a surprise. Some don't. I still coo and chortle to this very day, when people do it to me.
    Surprise is an important element in the most common forms of humor, but it is not a necessary component.
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  7. #27
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I think that humor is caused by two things:

    1. When you respond to a question that has a standard, accepted answer, in a way that is true but unexpected or assumed a different but valid meaning of a word in the question.

    2. When you say something that is normally considered appropriate to a situation similar to the current one, but actually isn't true or applicable to this specific situation for some reason.

    These are the only things l laugh at consistently.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Surprise is an important element in the most common forms of humor, but it is not a necessary component.
    Yeah I kind of gave up on my original thinking of an absolute.. It's an element in MOST good humor but there are exceptions.

    I got on the original idea from a thread on writing humor and I juxtaposed how I would write, opposed to what causes an individual to actually laugh.

  9. #29
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Surprise, clever turn of phrase, absurdity, transgression, scabrousness, universality. . . Many different things make something funny. Sometimes even the tone of voice or manner of transmission. I know that I can retell an old shaggy dog story about myself that is funny because of the detail and evocation of what happened combined with my friends identifying it inextricably with me. I also like verbal dexterity and wordplay. Other people I know who are very funny make off-beat observations and interesting connections/juxtapositions with other ideas. I think that seeking out the humor in life to enjoy makes one more likely to be funny to other people, as well. And yet, comedians are often tragic figures. . . Who knows?

    P.S. Always funny: someone falling (especially women, sorry, but it's true; in high heels makes it even better), ducks, watching people on psychedelic drugs, comedy k's, hitting the groin, Fox News, overtly bad puns, truly insensitive jokes, loud obscenities, farts, people who are stupid but don't know they are stupid, childish name-calling, Leslie Nielsen, et al. All of these things can be appreciated from about the age of 10 on, from the feeble-minded to the brilliant.
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  10. #30
    Senior Member LostInNerSpace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanlittlechimp View Post
    Got this response on another forum that makes sense to me.

    Originally Posted by Haphazard

    Humor has to do with a brain misfire, I've heard.

    It sets up a situation that makes sense and that veers off route. This is part of the idea that 'situation and then something unexpected'. It's also situational comedy, because where something is in the situation that's known as normal to an everyday person, it can proven absurd by the comedian. Again, brain misfire. Then you laugh.

    What tends to be even funnier is the disconnect between two things that make sense, but connect between in nonsense. That's how most jokes go, anyway. The punchline is funny not because it's nonsense, but because it's unexpected and yet still makes perfect sense.

    Or something like that.
    Close. Humor and creativity are directly related. What we tend to find funny are thoughts that are divergent but in some indirect way related to thoughts on our main track of thinking. People think basically in straight lines. One thought, leads to the next, which leads to the next. If you substitute something unexpected somewhere in the chain of thoughts for a closely related but unexpected thought, we tend to find that funny. This is basically because the brain is like an self organizing information system. Similar thoughts and ideas are stored close to each other but not directly linked. You can think of a field of thoughts with a train track running through the field. Thoughts stored close to the track are similar and probably very funny because of their similarity, but not directly linked to the train track. To find them you need to jump of the train while it is running through the field. Basically you want to introduce an element of randomness into your thinking. There is a creative thinking technique call povorcation to help with this.

    Say you want to find something funny about a person walking down the street. You would say to yourself, "Po, something funny about a person walking down the street is", and then just say whatever random words or thoughts come to mind. The idea is that these are not truly random words or thoughts. They are thoughts that may be in someway related to your main track of thought. Helps if you close your eyes. Works pretty well, but you need to practice. This is just one of many things I would like to practice but never seem to get around to doing. Such is the life of an INTP.

    My brother is an ENTP and he is very funny. INTPs can be very good at coming up with humor, but terrible with delivery. I suppose for similar reasons this is why ENTPs are good at humor. The extraversion makes you good at delivery.

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