The actual definition of funny is “Causing laughter or amusement; humorous“. Already that’s quite broad.
There are loads of different types of laughter: the quiet snigger on a packed train, that I-really-shouldn’t-be-laughing-so-I’ll-cough kinda laugh and the good old out and proud, bellowing laugh that hurts your side.
People often talk about the different in humour between the UK folk and the USA folk. I can see what they mean but I think that people’s tastes vary even more than that.
I like to think that I’m quite open minded about a lot of things. That goes for my sense of humour. I love a good joke whether it’s right on that line (a line I’ll come back to later) or whether it’s just a bit of generic slapstick. I like male and female comedians; though in different ways (which is a whole different post entirely! But I’ll do it eventually.).
I think the main difference in comedy and humour and all things laughter related is a person’s own completely unique line. It defines what is too far and what is not far enough.
I distinctly remember a lesson at school where a friend of mine made a joke about a teacher that another teacher deemed to be too far but later that year a joke that was worse, in my opinion, was simply glazed over.
I believe people’s lines can be defined by three main things.
1. Category. These jokes are about specific things whether it be sexism, politics or eggs. Some people rule out entire categories because they, quite rightly, find some things more offensive than others. That means that regardless who is saying and it and what the circumstance is that joke is automatically not funny because of its nature.
2. Person. I think some people find jokes funny that they normally wouldn’t if it’s told my someone they like or have a rapport with. Whether or not they do this to collude with them is questionable. These people might make excuses for the person telling the joke such as “Yeah it’s a bit of a controversial joke but they’re a good person really!”
3. Context. These are the kind of situations that you want to laugh in but can’t. For example, when I was in sixth form the house captains had to sit at the front of the hall behind my head of house, and facing the rest of the house. On such occasions friends would always try and make me laugh but I knew that the entire house could see me so I couldn’t laugh. The jokes would be brilliant but I just couldn’t laugh because I know how much telling off I would have to face if I did.
So whilst I think that different countries can, and do, have different takes on what is funny or not I also believe that everyone has their own specifications for humour.
Ooh ooh ohh – one more thing! My “explore topics” isn’t working. Any ideas what I can do to get it up and running? Thanks! 🙂