The Motley Fool Discussion Boards

Previous Page

Religion & Culture / Atheist Fools


Subject:  Re: Humor... Date:  12/13/2012  12:24 AM
Author:  khalou Number:  414643 of 462008


Why do our facial muscles constrict to form smiles and why do we expel syllables that are consistent with laughter when we find something to be amusing?

What is it about humor that causes such biological reactions?

"Funny" does have a formula. It can be reduced to redirection. People are carried down a path and, at the "punch line", find themselves consciously in another place entirely and their reaction is to smile and laugh.

Case in point- the typical joke-

"I once knew a man with one leg named Smith"

"Really? What was the name of his other leg?"

Not so good?

Here's what Wikipedia calls the world's funniest joke-

"Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says "Calm down. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gun shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says "OK, now what?""

We, as the audience, follow the story, as expected, to a very ordinary place. The "punch line" is provided and takes us on a logical, yet unlikely and IMMEDIAT