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Humor - No Sense Of
By:Michael Russell

You've heard the old phrase, "No sense of humor". We use it every time we tell somebody a joke and they don't laugh. Maybe you've just witnessed something funny, like a person tripping over a step stool and tumbling to the ground. You bust out in laughter but you friend, standing right next to you and seeing the same thing that you just saw, has absolutely no reaction whatsoever. You stare at your friend in disbelief. How could he not laugh at something like that?

Why people laugh at certain things and not at others is as mystery to everyone. If it weren't, sitcoms would never fail. Every show that ever hit the tube with the intention of making us laugh would be an instant hit. But they're not. Why? What goes wrong with the process? Why is someone getting hit in the face with a pie funny to one person and not another? Why is the same joke funny to one person and yet the same joke when told by another person gets no reaction?

There are theories as to why people don't find things funny, but that's all they are, is theories. Nobody has the answer to perfecting humor. Note all the failed sitcoms. One theory is that it's all in the delivery. In other words, how a joke is told. This might explain how the same joke, when told by two different people, generates two different responses. Or in layman's terms, some people just don't know how to tell a joke, no matter how funny the joke itself is. As funny as Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First" routine is, imagine it being done by two people who just don't have the talent for performing. Your favorite routine can quickly turn into a bland performance.

Another theory is that whether or not something is funny to a person has a lot to do with what they have or have not been through in life. This can actually work in both ways. If a person has been the victim of a crime, they may not find humor involving cops and robbers as being very funny. However, somebody who has been on an air flight that was delayed for several hours can relate to humor based on airline delays and may actually find such a routine funny. Or they may think back to the hell that it was and not find anything funny about it at all.

And still another theory is that some people just don't find anything funny. Humor itself is not something they respond to. Think about why you laugh at something. In many cases it's because of what you've learned about a subject and the joke is poking holes at it. A person who simply finds nothing as being funny may just look at the hole poking as another part of the subject itself. In other words, they don't get the joke. An example would be a joke that goes like "Trying to get the post office to deliver the mail on time is like trying to get President Bush to tell the truth". The person may simply not see the connection or humor in that statement and all the explaining in the world isn't going to make him see it.

Until we figure out for certain what makes something funny, sitcoms are still going to fail miserably and nobody is going to understand why.

Michael Russell

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