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What makes something funny?

A touching post by Kaje Harper got me to thinking about humor and its subjectivity. What some people find cute or funny, others are immediately turned off by. There's someone who complains about my cat thinking it's hilarious, whereas I feel offended on my cat's behalf whenever it happens. (I AM a crazy cat lady, you don't want to go there if you're trying to impress me.) Humiliating or insulting someone else? Also pretty excruciating. So what does that leave us with? Puns? Exaggerations? In-jokes, where the part that's funny is the part where we trust each other to get it without overexplaining? Out and out silliness?

In writing I'm a big fan of the wry callback. It's a trust thing. I trust you to remember I made a remark about this thing 100 pages ago and now I'm bringing it back.

As much as dumb gag gifts don't generally humiliate or insult anyone, I'm bewildered by the number and variety available on Amazon, like this yodeling pickle. I like that it doesn't hurt anyone's feelings, I suppose. But I'm still baffled. Maybe it's the new version of silly pranks that never fooled anyone, the stuff you could order from the back of a comic book, like whoopie cushions or see-behind-you glasses.

What about you, what kind of humor do you like? Are pranks and jokes funny to you, or just uncomfortable?



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 1st, 2016 04:43 pm (UTC)
One of my characters sent Tory Temple a yodelling pickle. She made this face: :-|

I find smart wit funny. Sarcasm that doesn't humiliate, merely underlines idiocy in a situation. I find Vic HILARIOUS, and Wild Bill makes me laugh, too.

April Fool's Day is horrible. Pranks are awful. Slap stick is completely hit or miss and has to be done really well not to offend me (because I'm klassy, OKAY?).

I tell my husband all the time that I'm hilarious, so whatever it is that I do is what I find funny. :D
Apr. 1st, 2016 07:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is good you can inform him when you're funny. :D

A big sign of whether or not I'm comfortable with someone is how silly I feel I can be. There's nothing worse than letting yourself be silly (vulnerable) and the other person not going along with the joke.
Apr. 1st, 2016 05:04 pm (UTC)
I like silly things, and dry, sarcastic humor. So long as it doesn't insult people or try to be cruel. Stupid humor, though, like movies which rely on fart jokes and gross humiliation, that turns me right off. Bodily functions can be funny, in high doses of moderation, but mostly it just seems juvenile and stupid.

I like my humor to be smart.
Apr. 1st, 2016 07:45 pm (UTC)
I can go surprisingly lowbrow with my funnybone. It must depend on my mood. Vomiting is hilarious to me.
Apr. 2nd, 2016 12:54 pm (UTC)
I don't like slapstick or pranks as a rule (there are very rare exceptions). I can't remember any one playing pranks on me for April Fools day, although I have been caught in 'everyone' jokes from time to time. I suspect that I don't hide my feelings too well at minor pranks on other people or just the recounting of them, so am ruled out as being a miserable cow with no sense of humour. If the person being pranked can't laugh about it, then it isn't a harmless prank, it's a malicious act. Not many people like to think of themselves as malicious.

I like sarcastic comments and throw-away lines in stories. I find witty repartee between a group of characters difficult to follow when it is in US-speak and probably need to be told it is witty repartee and not just random page filling or a serious argument :)

A lot of British humour does not translate, but as we are exposed to most popular US TV shows we can follow more of the US in-jokes from popular culture. Not that I'm very good at British in-jokes from TV programs. But then I don't like sit-coms either (see miserable cow comment above)

I just have a weird sense of humour that gets me in trouble with people that don't get it more often than I get a laugh.
Apr. 2nd, 2016 01:38 pm (UTC)
British humor seems pretty accessible to me, but I definitely have trouble differentiating between Brits who are quipping back and forth and Brits who are actually arguing. I think everyone's just being playful unless it comes to blows :D
Apr. 2nd, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC)
I'm not fond of any humor that downgrades or degrades the listener or reader. I love humor that relies on intelligence to positive effect.

- Erulisse (one L)
Apr. 8th, 2016 06:45 pm (UTC)
There's a kind of trust happening when someone makes a smart joke with the expectation you'll get it.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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