A Root of Humor & The Joker

I would really think humor, at least in one sense, is about the unexpected.   We laugh when something surprises us.   I remember sitting at a retreat with a dozen people, one being a 5 year old girl.  She was a delight to be around and someone said, “We’re glad you came here.”  Her reply was a very dry, “Oh, my parents made me.”  And the natural reaction was one to laugh.

You see, we’re trained as adults to do somethings and avoid others.  We know to sing songs as they are written.  Children don’t.  The indicated dynamics of soft and loud are determined on the spot.  They will sing with great volume when they want to.  They will also repeat phrases over because they like the sound of them.  We find this humorous.  I would argue because it throws us off.  We expect “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” not to suddenly become “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”  But we laugh when children slide right into it.

In the case of the 5 year old girl, we laughed because we weren’t expecting her reply.  We are used to polite mistruths and when someone betrays that rhythm, we laugh at its unexpected nature.  Check out this little snippet that details something Louis C.K. said on Leno:

See, we like the joke because it breaks what we’re used to.  So I ran this by a good friend of mine: the Clown Prince of Crime.

The Joker finds everything quite funny.  And it would be my theory that the reason he finds everything so humorous is because of his chaotic view of the world.  We laugh at things because of little bits of chaos that find their way into our meticulously ordered lives.  But the Joker’s life is only that of chaos.  So when something happens, it’s always unexpected and thus very funny.

What makes him crazy, aside from the obvious fact that he’s a murderous psychopath, is that he never gets used to the chaos.  And so, by default, everything is really quite funny.

My question for you readers, what is your favorite type of humor?


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