Humor

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See also: Humour

Humor (humour in British English) is a form of entertainment and a form of human communication, intended to make people laugh and feel happy. The origins of the word are in the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, the word meaning fluid.

Further references:

There are different types of humor which appeal to different sectors of humanity - for instance, slapstick is particularly popular with young children, while satire tends to be more popular with the older and better-educated. Humor is usually localized and does not easily transfer from one culture to another. This happens because humor is often context sensitive and someone not understanding the context will usually not understand the humor. Various techniques are used to deliver humor:

  • Slapstick
  • Joke
  • Sarcasm
  • Satire
  • Parody
  • Adages, often in the form of parody "laws" of nature
  • Practical joke: deliberately luring someone into a humourous position and then laughing at their expense
  • Silly acts inappropriate for the situation or age of person
  • Fake stern manner that is inappropriate in a comic setting
  • Ridiculous gestures and movements
  • Deliberate ambiguity and confusion with reality (such as in Andy Kaufman's humour)
  • Play of words such as oxymorons, puns etc.
  • Unexpected outcome, such as a witty punchline.
  • Wit, as in many one-liners.
  • Absurdity
  • Triple
  • Irony
  • Humorous "Laws" such as Murphy's law
  • Self inflicted embarrassing situation, e.g. losing one's swimming trunks after a dive.
  • Comic sounds or inherently funny words with certain sounds that make them amusing in a particular language
  • Self-degradation (such as in Rodney Dangerfield's humor)
  • Faking stupidity
  • Pointing out real stupidity (such as the Darwin Awards)
  • Stereotyping (such as blonde jokes, lawyer jokes, racial jokes etc.)
  • Inflicting pain (such as kick in the groin or in the movie "Home Alone", etc)

there are many more

It has been claimed that humor cannot be explained. However, attempts can be made, such as this one:

Perhaps the essence of humor is the presentation of something familar to a person, so they think they know the natural follow-on thought or conclusion, then providing a twist through presentation of the opposite of what was expected, or else the natural result of interpreting the original situation in a different, less common, way. For example:

A man speaks to his doctor after an operation. He says, "Doc, now that the surgery is done, will I be able to play the piano?" The doctor replies "Of course!" The man says "Good, because I couldn't before!"

Studies of humor:

Users of some psychoactive drugs tend to find humor in many more situations and events than one normally would.


One notable trait of Australians, inherited from the British, is the use of deadpan humor, in which the joker will make an outrageous or ridiculous statement without explicitly indicating they are joking. Americans visiting Australia have gained themselves a reputation for gullibility and a lack of a sense of humor by not recognising that tales of kangaroos hopping across the Sydney Harbour Bridge are examples of this propensity.


There is another article at humour. See also laughter.

References