It’s always great to share and receive funny jokes. Jokes are a wonderful gift to share and laugh about with others. If you find yourself starting to laugh without even thinking about the person or persons who are right next to you, then you’re a true comedian! Laughing at things that you like can be quite fun.
When you enjoy the way a joke works on you, it’s obvious that there is an element of truth in the joke. Laughter brings tension and funny bone in your body. This creates a natural loosening of the throat muscles, which leads to laughter. When you are watching someone else’s performance at the comedy club, you may observe the way that their humor flows from one punch line to another. Or, you may catch yourself making some of your own funny comments while watching a friend do a skit.
You may wonder what the difference is between a good joke and a bad one. Often the difference lies in the delivery of the punch line. The joke may be funny, but if the delivery of the punchline doesn’t flow with the punch, then you are likely to find yourself rolling your eyes or shaking your head in irritation. Some of our favorite stand-up comedy routines have this inherent problem. Jerry Seinfeld’s famous joke about a woman who could always tell when her husband had sex with another woman can be considered funny because it’s an exaggeration of a real situation. But his delivery is confusing, which leads to his audience believing him to be making fun of the woman for reacting as he did.
How many times has someone told you that you looked funny, only to have them tell you afterward that you were being boring, or that you were being dishonest? Sometimes we don’t mean to make somebody feel inferior. We just have a hard time understanding why we find ourselves saying things that way. If you look at it another way, is it not just a matter of developing a natural humor or a little bit of irony? We all laugh at things that don’t make us happy. The ability to laugh at ourselves, and at the world in general, goes a long way towards eliminating the need for humor in everyday life.
When it comes to detecting whether a joke is funny or not, humor becomes more difficult to detect, or even recognize, after the fact. The tendency to look for incongruities or to read meaning into the situation is something that we do naturally. Even when the situation isn’t as ridiculous as it seems, our natural tendency is to look for some kind of sign to see if we were being humorous. However, after we’ve had a chance to properly digest and understand what we were trying to say, most people will tell you that there isn’t any intentional deception involved. This is where irony or the ability to “take the perspective” can become very important.
When you consider the fact that the vast majority of us only tend to notice incongruities when they strike up in a conversation, it becomes apparent that the “incongruity theory” doesn’t actually apply to all forms of humorous comments. The real test is whether or not your actual feelings about the situation are funny. Laughter is something that’s natural and universal, so the only thing that changes is the perception of the situation or the individual that’s being discussed. By observing how you react to something, you can easily determine whether or not it’s going to make you laugh or not. This doesn’t always involve a clever punch line; sometimes it’s a simple observation that the joke was funny.