We've been watching episodes of QI, which often features Jimmy Carr, who wrote a book called Only Joking: What's So Funny About Making People Laugh? or The Naked Jape, with friend Lucy Greeves, that I have just devoured. A book discussing the theories of humor, it contains a lot of jokes and actual humor, as well as sharp insight. I think I now have a working theory about how funny men can wind up with wives who don't think them funny at all, but it's not a simple answer, based on a series of proofs. About how many young men use humor as an aggressive game, and like women who will laugh at their jokes, not challenge them back with their own. After a few years of marriage, were I a woman who couldn't tell a joke married to an aggressive jokester, I'd certainly be tired.
Thankfully, D has always loved my humor, he doesn't get the threatening joke thing at all.
A sense of humor, and the ability to joke seem to be not always evolutionarily advantageous, or maybe they are. The results are still out. Makes me think about the old ideal of "finding the cure for cancer" which is a goal that assumes that all cancers are the same, and one trick will solve the problem. Reality is proving much more complicated. So it is with humor, the why of funny is conditional, time sensitive, personal and slippery as snot.
Jesus walks into a motel, drops a bag of nails on the counter and says, "Can you put me up for the night?"
Doctor says to the patient, "You have to stop masturbating."
"Because I'm trying to examine you."
Dog goes to send a telegram. Clerk says, "Fine, it's five words for a dollar, what's your message?"
"Bark, bark. Bark. Bark."
"You get one more word, I could add another "bark".
Dog looks puzzled and says, "But, that wouldn't make any sense."
Of course, all the way through the book, I am thinking about the Fool's Guild in the Discworld books.
"Women are just not funny."
"Interesting dichotomy, since neither are clowns."