What is the secret to humor?

by phil on Wednesday Apr 16, 2003 1:05 PM

Is it simplified truth? In some regards, yes. Really good sketches merely illustrate the truth in its most succinct form. It also presents truth that is hidden and well, comedic. But what makes something comedic. Is it usually the truth about something we're embarrassed about? Or is it the truth about something that is not obvious? Either way, no mater how we try to hack it up, there's no way to define the structure of good comedy. There seems to be good principles of humor, but they don't always work. Delivery is important--my dad always tries to repeat jokes from Chris Rock, but it just never works right. Mr. Rock's got some from of charisma, maybe, or some swagger. It's hard to tell.

And, that's one thing that I like about humor. Humor seems like the highest form of art because it is the most subjective. It's even got more subjectivity and highness than abstract expressionism. With abstract expressionism, there are still some guiding principles on discriminating bad art and good art. If the colors are harmonious, or if it resonates with a certain feeling or attitude, then it has a certain definition that can be appraised. Comedy has always lacked a standard for judgement.

And it's recursive as well. The idea of humor and laughing is hilarious in itself. What is this huffing and puffing that we all do, sometimes in groups, sometimes alone, when we encounter these off-beat statements? Not all humor is offbeat as well. I look at Neil Cavuto's face and I laugh. I just don't know.

Either way, I think there's some truth and good to how Nietzsche puts so much emphasis on laughter and gaiety. He almost finds humor the highest form of feeling. Like after fear there is religion. After religion, there is philosophy. After philosophy, there is art. After art, there is science. After science, there is education. After education, there is boredom. And then, at the end of the chain, there is humor. In looking at my alter ego Neil's chart, it seems he left out humor as being the ultimate direction where things end up.

I dunno, maybe I'm over-dramatizing it. Either way, I get a feeling that humor will now be the remedy for the broken-heart over the banality of philosophistry. Either way, there must be a reason they say that "laughter is the best medicine" and that "the key to a woman's heart is humor."

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