What makes us laugh?

In the first week of class, we talked extensively on what makes us laugh. The three different theories of humor provide a good start; however, does everything funny fall under all of these three theories?  I certainly do not know.  I am not sure I ever want to know the answer to that question.  One thing that was mentioned in the Bergson reading was that there is no “simple formula” to what makes something comical.  If there was, one can only imagine famous stand-up comedians sitting down with advanced mathematicians and analyzing different wordings in order to achieve maximum humor levels.  I would like to think that will never be the case, but I guess I will probably never know.

Of the three theories, the one I most connected with and understood was the incongruity theory. Looking back on the jokes and different comedy shows I have watched growing up, I can definitely see how things that go against perceived human pattern, or come out of so-called “left field,” are looked at as comic.  One character that comes to mind is Dwight Schrute from “The Office.” Dwight often reacts to a situation differently than any “normal” human would.  For instance, when faced with a CPR dummy, Dwight took it upon himself to cut the dummy open, harvest its organs, and cut off its face and wear it.  Personally, I have never met anyone who would act in that way when faced with a similar situation.  This random act of violence is one of the funniest scenes in the show, in my humble opinion.  Now, this scene made me laugh uncontrollably.  However, I do not think everything that goes against social norms or surprises me is funny.  So, in closing, I am wondering how our brain perceives certain things as funny, and others as not.  Is there any way to define what type of surprise or disruption of human patterns is funny?  Once again, the question of what makes us laugh leaves me with much to ponder.

Image result for picture of dwight schrute face cut off

 

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