Understanding Theories Of Funny Things

When you hear someone say, “I’m funny”, do you think they really mean it? Does it really make you think “hilarious” when other people laugh at them? Most people would probably say yes, but not everyone considers being funny to be a positive attitude to have. If a person considers himself or herself to be funny, that person might take delight in other people’s misfortune and delight in the follies of others. But is it always a good thing or can a person be too funny for his own good?


Humor is usually defined as out of the ordinary or causing enjoyment. A perfect example of something funny would be a joke which actually makes everybody laugh. A perfect example of this would be a person who sees a train wreck and makes a comment on it. An example of funny is when a person smells strange from across the room and promptly tells the other person about his or her scent.

Theory of humor involves the idea that there are two types of laughter; dry humor and wet humor. Dry humor is what we call genuine or pure humor and is not intended to be ironic or make light of another’s misfortune. On the other hand, wet humor involves an exaggeration which could be accurate, but it is meant to be exaggerated and humorous. There are two theories on the art of humor. One is called the situational theory and the other is the cue theory.

Situational theory says that funny acts and expressions are those that are given when there is no real threat to the audience. When there is incongruity or if the target audience will recognize the violation of norms, there will be laughter. For instance, a parent punishing a child for biting his or her nails will elicit laughter. But this act will not be funny if the child has just been born with a nail biting disorder. The violation of norms then has to be completely unexpected and over the top. In this way, situational incongruities will constitute the basis of funny actions and expressions.

The second theory, the cue theory, also states that there are two forms of humor: situational andocalic. situation comedies are those where the comedian makes a comical observation or comment while in the course of telling a story to make the audience laugh. ocalic comedies are those that have clear relevance to the story and are delivered with the utmost gravity and wit. For example, when President Obama made a speech to Congress and referred to the Tea Party as “neoconservatives,” many found it amusing because the reference was ironic, yet it was a sincere and truthful expression of his opinion. The joke was not one of his many jokes about how horrible the Tea Party is.

The third theory, which is popularly known as the Benign Violation Theory, states that there are two kinds of humor: one that is benign, and one that is malicious. When a funny event or behavior creates a breach in the social norm in any way, then we label the act as funny. While this theory may seem easy, the application is much more complicated than that. In a case where the comedian creates a false reality for entertainment value and then acts in a manner that is highly offensive to many people, he may be found guilty of several counts of malicious prosecution or libel.