Thursday, February 17, 2005

No Laughing Matter. . .

In Grade 1, I was really slow in getting changed for gym. I was almost always the last person ready. I got distracted easily. I was always talking rather then changing. It was getting to the point I was starting to sense the fury of my Grade 1 teacher. For the record, I was scared of my Grade 1 teacher. A lot. She was frightening. I wanted to get back on her good side. I remember there was one day that I was the last person in the change room and I was quickly trying to get finished. I rushed to the classroom in an attempt to appease my ruthless teacher. Instead, I was greeted by laughter by my peers. Why? Well, it appears I did do a good job of putting on my gym t-shirt but not so good at remembering to put on my shorts. In the rush, I was now in the classroom bearing my underwear to all. In retrospect, it is a little funny. At the time, I thought I'd be forever scarred.

That is an emberassing moment. Yet probably a moment that gives you all a slight chuckle. The fact we find that so funny actually makes me wonder for a moment. Why is it that people's misfortunes are such a humorous thing? Why are most comedies based on circumstances where someone suffers indignity? I can't think of any recent comedies where a focus of the jokes aren't on someone who has misfortunes or are in awkward situations. Why do we find these things so funny?

It doesn't really remain in media either. Most jokes seems to usually be targeted at friends. You give a friend a nickname that is based off an emberassing situation. We seem to delight in belittling people even in a playful manner. I'm guilty of this. I admit this. It's just so odd that almost all humour seems to be based on misfortune.

How many jokes can you think of where something bad doesn't happen to someone? Name a comedy where a character doesn't suffer any indignity? Name the last time you cracked a joke at a friend that was based off something uplifting? Why is humour based off such negative connotations?

Is it because we need the humour to get through hard times? Jokes are invented in order to see the lighter side of a bad situation? Maybe I should have named this blog - 'I ask a lot of questions and make sure to not answer any.' This is something I've been pondering a lot. Wondering why most humour is the way it is. Most of all, is it possible to go the other route? Can humour be focused on the positive. Can you crack a joke without targeting a friend? Can you throw nicknames at someone that is funny and encouraging? Is it possible? Do positive nicknames exist????

That is my challenge of the day. Try to keep your humour completely positive. Of course, I still think we are allowed to bash Napoleon Dynamite endlessly. Right?


  1. Anonymous11:42 am

    where i work, it seems like everyone has a nickname that isn't in any way belittling. its more of a "pet name". so, yes, i think we can have positive humor.

  2. Dude, I didn't know we shared that experience in the past... except I think I did it in Grade 6... seriously... and I was wearing tighty whities... I also agree with the lack of positive amd creative humour in the world... I think most of it will be gone when Bill Cosby leaves us...