Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Adventures in Humor

The better half and I both have strange senses of humor. Luckily, we seem to have similar tastes in jokes. In this entry I shall attempt to delineate the different classes of humor in which we partake.

1. Inside Jokes. We have many shared experiences and from these shared experiences we draw much of our humor. For example, one time a certain family member (who shall remain anonymous) once said that only “goons” drank out of cans. So now we accuse one another of being goons when we notice the other drinking from a can.

2. Repetition. We are little more than amoebas, in that this is a case of stimulus-response. Most of these jokes are not even funny. For example, every time we pass a particular street in Oak Ridge, one of us nudges the other and says, “Hey, see that street? [My Ph.D. advisor] used to live down that street.” There were similar jokes in Urbana (like “That’s where the foundry used to be before it burned down” and “They used to run prostitutes out of that hotel.”) I don’t know why this is funny, but it is.

3. Injecting reality into fantasy, or vice versa. When we’re watching a TV show, or playing a game, or whatever, I often do this. For example, in the game World of Warcraft, certain animals leave you with “discolored fangs” as loot. I commented recently that if only those animals used Crest toothpaste, they wouldn’t have discolored fangs.

4. Puns. Mostly, I make the puns, and he groans. Puns were an integral source of humor in my family when I was growing up, and I continue the tradition.

5. Deliberate Misinterpretations. One of us says something, and the other takes it in a completely different way. Jeff is really good at this one. I tend to mix this method with puns for more effect.

What sorts of humor do you like?


Laura said...

Does "Tim Horton is always fresh" count as repetition or a pun? :-)

rachie said...

I think it's an inside joke at this point!

A lot of my humor comes from mishearing things, usually not deliberately. And puns, although I don't do as many of those as I used to. Of course, when you have a 2-year-old, everything you do has potential for hilarity. Singing "little Bunny Foo-Foo" still tops everything, though.

Rebecca said...

Yeah, I think some jokes probably fall into several categories. The thing about "Tim Horton" is that it's a pun so it has humor value in the absence of repetition, whereas "Mike Heath used to live down that street" shouldn't have been funny the first time.

Krecker said...

I prefer:
1. Dry sarcasm above all... A’ la Chevy Chase. How funny is Life Aquatic?!
2. Purely ridiculous make-believe scenarios about random people you don't know in public places. This is taking people-watching to the next level. Next time you and a friend are kinda bored at a bar or restaurant, pick someone out and just start making up what you think they are talking about, or their history. I promise its funny. The best part is, it is only as funny as your imagination. Details are the key.
3. Slapstick. There is nothing funnier than falling. Except maybe almost falling but barely catching it. You know? You just don’t see people’s bodies move like that very often.

By the way ... thanks for the post on my blog. :)