Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Humor Is Subjective, Grass Is Green

Is Humor subjective?
Except when it isn't.
"Humor is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement."

Oh! Please, Gimli is probably twice the man you are
I think that pretty much sums it up. Humor is how well you can amuse people around you.
But what do people feel is amusing? Every person's sense of humor varies to a degree. Some may like nerd jokes, others sarcasm. Humor is one of the most complex things to determine in the ordinary life. It is just about connecting your niches with the people and sharing them.

I don't find 'Family Guy' very funny, not to say that it isn't. Or that something is wrong with my sense of humor. Some people don't find 'Two and A Half Men' funny. They are obviously wrong since they don't agree with me. But more importantly, their style of comedy is vastly different. One man's funny is another man's insult.
My favorites, though, are the jokes that turn around their initial expectations (which could be said of all jokes to a certain degree) but do it in a way that make you reinterpret the joke from the beginning. The word for it is paraprosdokian.

 But there are a few things that bind even the lawless land of humor into one agreeable clutch (racist, death threats etc are out of reach)

  • Humor is all about context. It’s about the right time and the right place. Even the most powerful jokes fall flat at the wrong time or in front of a dull crowd. 
  • Humor isn’t subjective when it fails to amuse the people it was specifically created for.
  • There is a difference between being funny and being offensively funny.
  • Just because you don’t find something funny, doesn’t mean it isn’t. Unless the person was specifically trying to make you laugh, in which case it probably isn’t.
So when people tell me that my jokes, which were for the public and apparently garnered appreciation, don't suit their perception of what humor is, they can as well say that the grass isn't greener on the other side, which sounds stupid when you say it out loud.

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