Why do we laugh at jokes?

What is comedy?

What makes us laugh?

What kind of jokes is funny?

“Comedy: the vitality of men holding its own place amid unplanned coincidences.” - Apro quo of a women philosophier.

Irony. What would be expected to happen does not and the suprise exhalts the experience. Parody. The exact opposite happens, again with a suprise, but after some amount of anticipation, since the parody is a purposeful application of irony.

These themes are humorous because each places man into a position where he is simultaneously powerless and not in control but uneffected by the dissonance. It is a sort of harmless danger, or an unpredictable and unexpected event emerging in a sequence of order: where one plans one thing, another happens, the order is disrupted but it isn’t harmed, and the witness experiences the exhiliration of the new event with the relief that one wasn’t hurt. Like accepting fate with the admission that one isn’t in control, but should act as if one were.

Watch Sisyphus push the rock up the hill. He hates it…but he has accepted it. It won’t kill him, so he can atlest make a mockery out of it. Laugh at it in spite of his futile efforts.

Recall the man wiping the sweat from his forehead after he successfully manages with a mistake that he caused himself…laughing as he reflects on the event. Or the guy who trips on the root and falls over, but wasn’t hurt, and can then amuse himself with the folly of his own actions.

Humor can be seen as a sort of vanity, I think. Laughing is really a way of gripping the world psychologically, while behind the laughter itself there are elements that show how and what happens to induce laughter. I can only imagine that laughing is an expression that indicates these themes and our reactions to them. Often enough we find ourselves laughing at such absurdities as irony and the parody, but to realize what effect this behavior has psychologically will show the real motive behind humor.

Comedy is relief with a touch of arrogance…a “I meant to do that,” or “whew…that was close, good thing I…,” or “since you didn’t die from that accident, its safe to laugh at it now while we reflect.”

I have often wondered about why something is funny. The only thing I can come up with is laughing is socially aquired. What we think is funny is taught to us. That is why I can laugh at a man farting while my mom thinks it is disgusting. But with this answer, who was the first person to laugh? Why did they laugh? How funny would it have been to see the first person who thought somthing was funny.

This somewhat reminds of a sentence M.A.Iacono said once in a lesson about the philosophical meaning of Magritte’s work:

“The commedian is the person that by breaking the frame in which we give sense to reality re-affirms it.”

I’d say that Irony is the root cause of most humor…even if it is not presently obvious. If I watch the three stooges re-runs, I laugh because I find irony in the fact that they are so hopeless inept at all they do. That, I believe would be a more subtle example of irony… :slight_smile:

i think de’trop is on point for this… i have to say that comedy and laughing is an aesthetics question for philosophy. besides irony there is also the common situation we are past but relate to. the common example is a baby leaning to walk, we all learn to walk but its funny watching someone in akward learning process we have come to pass because we relate to it… In relation to the myth of Sisyphus, laughing also relates to the existentialist notion of the absurd… in many ways comedy redeems tragedy

I haven’t a fully formed opinion on this, but I was wondering if anyone thought you could draw a connection between Grice’s Implicature Structures and Comedy.

More specifically, it seems to me that things are funny when they defy what is implied.

For example, when we see a person talking, we imply that they will continue talking. To see them get hit in the face with a pie defies our expectations.

Also consider that when we “see the joke coming,” we tend to think it is not funny—if the punchline to a joke is what we expect it to be, we don’t laugh.