On a + note

So, what makes things funny?

Posted in on a + note by flickfancy on August 4, 2014

kitty#32I just read the most interesting book The Humor Code – a global search for what makes things funny by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner. It’s a topic I have been interested in for years, but ironically have found it to be so boring to read about, until now. The Humor Code is fascinating, engaging, funny and an all-around great read.

So what did I learn and laugh at?

►Surprisingly, fewer than 20% of laughing is a response to something funny. In most cases laughter is a result of nerves, fear, an effort to break down barriers, appear more attractive or signal everything is ok.

►Usually the joke teller laughs first and longer than the joke recipient…..next time you tell a joke just watch!

►The vast majority of men and women both consider humor amongst the most important characteristics when choosing a life partner.

►Moms and Dads know this, but a sense of humour usually develops in infants at about 10 – 20 weeks, much earlier than language. By age 5 or 6 slap stick or physical humor becomes understandable and funny. By age 7 or 8 kids begin to understand more complex meanings and become the master of the “knock-knock” joke. By age 12 – 14 kids are beginning to appreciate irony and jokes become more complex with puns and double meanings.

► Comedy is culturally based and context-dependent; translating or explaining a joke is a no win for everyone.

►Humor is also geographic. What is funny in Japan may not be funny in Denmark and what is laughed at in Nunavut may not be as humorous in Victoria.

►And, what was accepted as humour in 1910 may not be as funny in 2014.

►Humor is a teaching tool and a wellness barometer.

If you are looking for a great read and a few laughs, check out The Humor Code.


Kitty Pope                                                                                    #32 August 2014




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