Though ultimately decided by personal taste, the extent to which a person finds something humorous depends on a host of variables, including geographical location, culture, maturity, level ofeducation, intelligence and context.

Root components of humor:

Being reflective of or imitative of reality

Surprise/misdirection, contradiction/paradox, ambiguity.

Methods:

Farce

Hyperbole

Metaphor

Pun

Reframing

Timing

Behaviour, place :

Rowan Atkinson explains in his lecture in the documentary Funny Business[47]that an object or a person can become funny in three ways:

by behaving in an unusual way,

by being in an unusual place,

by being the wrong size.

Most sight gags fit into one or more of these categories.

Exaggeration

Some theoreticians of the comic consider exaggeration to be a universal comic device.[48] It may take different forms in different genres, but all rely on the fact that the easiest way to make things laughable is to exaggerate to the point of absurdity their salient traits.

Taxonomy

There are many taxonomies of humor:

Anecdotes

Fantasy

Insult

Mockery

Irony

Satire

Sarcasm

Jokes

Observational

Quote

Role play

Self deprecation

Vulgarity

Wordplay

----Wikipedia

From slapstick to sarcasm, there isn't anything humorous that isn't also potentially offensive to someone somewhere.

Being able to distinguish between laughing at someone and laughing with someone is a manifestation of intelligence.

There's a world of difference between 'making fun' of someone's condition, circumstance, or situation and 'poking fun' at someone's personality, habits, or idiosyncrasies. 

Humor at the expense of the pain it causes others is generally considered to be in poor taste.

The First Amendment protects our right to speak our minds openly and freely without government sanction or interference.

It also imparts the implied responsibility to do so within a framework of moral and ethical constraint, humaneness and compassion.

The Supreme Court has determined  that even speech that has little or no redeeming social value may be protected under the 1st Amendment.

It is therefore up to the individual to exercise good judgment in the imposition of self restraint within the context and framework of collectively established social norms and commonly held societal values.

It is in this regard that the following should be kept in mind and strongly considered re the question or issue of what is or isn't humorous:

As with obscenity, there is no universal test or national standard re what is humorous and what is not.

What works or goes as humor in New York may not work or go as humor in Kansas. 

If you find yourself in New York, and offended by the humor and the sense of humor there, you may do well by closing your eyes, clicking your heels three times, and return to 'Kansas' by repeating, "There's no place like home."

Views: 85

Comment by koshersalaami on March 6, 2018 at 11:13am

Jeez, Ron, I tell you I thought your Tom Bodette crack was funny and the next thing you know....

Comment by J.P. Hart on March 6, 2018 at 11:20am

Good example of why Dice Clay was not on the short list to MC the Alchemy I mean the 'Cademy Wards I meant to type awards.

Comment by Ron Powell on March 6, 2018 at 11:27am

@Kosh; Look at the time on this post and your comment...

One has nothing to do with the other...

I was completely unaware of your comment when I composed and  posted this...

Comment by koshersalaami on March 6, 2018 at 11:29am

Oops

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 6, 2018 at 12:04pm

There's a world of difference between 'making fun' of someone's condition, circumstance, or situation and 'poking fun' at someone's personality, habits, or idiosyncrasies. 

Yup.

There is a word of difference between things like moki ikom's "Ok butch, you laid on with your..." (she's not, btw.  She is andro at best) or Joesey Shore's oh so witty "Safe Butch Amy" (later repeated ad nauseum by Bill Beck) and giving me a hard time about wearing wearing flannel/owning a tool belt/sporting Doc Matrens/etc.  Example #1 & #2 are simply derogatory and are aimed to offend and the others are "poking fun".

THAT said there are places, poking fun or not, that straight people / white people / men should not go.  A GREAT example is can you ever envision it being okay for a straight white person to do the following Wanda Sykes skit???

That's why I have to disagree with your "What works or goes as humor in New York may not work or go as humor in Kansas.".  Hurtful is hurtful.  That people "accept" it more in NYC is more of a function of "number of assholes per block", IMO, not whether it is offensive or not.  Otherwise, you would be saying that it is MORE okay to make "Nigger jokes" in NYC then it is in Topeka. Hate speech, even disguised as a "joke", is equally wrong regardless of the locale.

Comment by koshersalaami on March 6, 2018 at 1:41pm

What works or goes as humor in New York doesn’t have to be hate speech to fail to work in Kansas. I know that from personal experience - not the Kansas part, but having moved from New York to Maryland during high school. In New York, mild interpersonal insults were often part of conversation. The first time I did that in a conversation in Maryland in high school and the kid got insulted I was “What just happened?” I utterly didn’t see it coming. It didn’t get really serious, but I did not have the cultural referent for that reaction. 

Comment by Ron Powell on March 6, 2018 at 3:02pm

@Amy;  "That people"accept" it more in NYC is more of a function of"number of assholes per block", IMO, not whether it is offensive or not."

Agreed! The fact that it may work or 'sell' as humor doesn't make it less offensive or less hurtful..

But as I said ,all humor has the potential of offending or hurting someone somewhere...

Do you remember this?:

Comment by Ron Powell on March 6, 2018 at 3:10pm

@Kosh; "What works or goes as humor in New York doesn’t have to be hate speech to fail to work in Kansas."

Agreed, it stops being a joke if you have to explain it and yourself to your audience.

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