The following article was written by Anfield (G9).
Jello everyone, nice to meat you. WHAT?!?! HOW IS THAT NOT FUNNY? It seems as if you don’t carrot all? Well, lets not taco bout it anymore. C’mon, laugh a little…no? Well, ok, I’ll stop. But seriously, you probably wondered at some point, what makes someone funnier than others even when they’re saying THE SAME EXACT JOKE? Or maybe, it’s more like, HOW to be funny?
But before we look into how to be funny, we need to know what exactly makes people laugh. The three main theories to humor include incongruity, superiority, and relief (Brain). Incongruity is when something ironic happens, something that would make you go “WHAT?!”, just before you start to laugh your heads off. Superiority, is just when you feel good about yourself, when you feel superior than another person, for once. Moving on to relief theory. Relief theory is laugher that comes along with, well, relief, when we pass tense times and pressure, or that “Phew! A “That was close” moment. The sad truth is, sometimes, people are just funnier than you. A name that would pop up my head immediately would be Rowan Atkinson, as Mr. Bean. Now, he isn’t funny just because he was born to be funny, but his usage of slapstick humor, which would link to not only one but 2 of the 3 theories, as he not only makes you surprised from his unexpected actions, but also makes you feel superior when exaggerating his silly or clumsy actions, as you could see in the video below. Now, that you know the theories behind why you find things funny, but the joke itself doesn’t play a full role in making people laugh.
A joke shouldn’t be able to make someone laugh on it’s own, … or can it? This is where the presentation of the joke comes in. You might not know it, but the difference in the presentation of the joke can make the world of difference. I did an experiment to find out if the presentation of a joke can affect the audience by comparing visually presented puns with verbally presented puns. Turns out verbal puns are just more… punny. This is because when you are presenting the joke or the pun, verbally, you could insert pauses and intonation, making the surprise, well…, more surprising. But with a visually presented prompt, like a meme, the surprise factor is lacking or missing. The texts read in your heads won’t be as engaging as when someone else’s voice is cracking up the pun, and the prompt would come out dull. This is what sets the famous comedians apart from the rest of us, their ability to build up to the surprise factor of the joke, and present it at just the time with the right tonation and actions, making it like a real punch into the audience, resulting in the “HAHAHA”s. So, when you crack a joke and it turns out awkward, it may just be how you say it, because how we say a joke, turns out to be as important as the joke itself.
Even though I have explained the technicalities of joke telling, it doesn’t mean that I have made you into a comedian. To get someone to laugh, it requires both good humor content, and the technique. So, the next time you hang out with your friends, start practicing, even it’s starting to get awkward, try cracking out a pun, because, who knows? You might just become a new comedic star.
Brain, Marshall. “How Laughter Works” 01 April 2000. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/laughter.htm> 11 May 2015.
MrBean. “Sporty Bean | Clip Compilation | Mr. Bean Official.” YouTube, YouTube, 5 July 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OQ0WuG7E9I.