I’ve already alienated most of my potential readers who like to read funny things by spelling humor as humour. I’ve dedicated a full post to the dilemma of this duality but, in all fairness, this isn’t going to be a funny post. It isn’t even going to be a musing on what funny is. Instead, it is going to be about how we sense what funny is. How do we find the things that make us laugh? What are we drawn to that makes us chuckle and help us deal with the otherwise dreary business of life? When people talk about a sense of humo[u]r, it isn’t about what is funny but, who finds what funny and why. For example, Keira Knightley has said her mother thinks Breaking Bad is a comedy. So, to be funny or not to be funny is not a question even a funnyman can safely answer. It is you, the recipient, the one with the spidey sense of what makes you giggle or tire your guts out, or even simply plaster a smile on your face like The Joker that will determine what your sense of humour is.
I’ve often been told I have a dry sense of humour. If so, I’d like to know what a wet sense of humour is. Personally, I don’t like such categorization. I, certainly, don’t categorize what people think is funny in that way either. In the days of MySpace ( kids, MySpace was what Facebook is like now, but only ten years ago, when it was meant for young people and musicians ), you were given a questionnaire to fill in, where you had to tick what type of humour you had. I’m sure dating websites and maybe even Facebook has it now ( like it has everything ) but, I always found it strange. Back then, I just ticked all the options that looked appetizing enough. I certainly did not want to repel anybody with my sense of humour, even if I knew what it was. And to be honest, being called “dry” is quite unappetizing. It is variously defined but, at its most amenable it means, a joke is not said as a joke but is funny only circumstantially. Now, isn’t circumstantial humour absolutely the very best? If a joke existed as an isolated entity, with not much character or context, how relatable would it be anyway?
I think I’m quite open to funny things. Even if they are prejudiced or violent, I have to admit, I have let out a chuckle quite against my principles. The thing is, you can’t help it. That is the whole point of a joke, your response to it can’t be premeditated. A lot of people are against laugh-tracks used in TV shows. I don’t mind them, unless they are laughing at things I don’t find funny. If you are regularly exposed to a variety of comedy for most of your life ( which I am, as are most people in contact with a television ) you have a well-developed intuition of what is truly funny and what is manipulated funny. I don’t like the same old type of jokes. There are quite a number of comedians who can be so manipulative. They know what they represent, they know the kind of humour expected of them and they even set up jokes in such a way that they almost cue you when to laugh, laugh-track or no laugh-track. Call me stubborn but, it is my policy never to laugh at or with things that aren’t funny.
Another assessment I get is, I have a “surreal” sense of humour. That is the subject for another post but, to quote John Lennon, “Surrealism to me is reality.” I don’t go hunting for things that look colourful or defy logic. But, I have no compulsion for things that have to be in this plane, in this world, realistic. Mankind sure has a way of limiting itself when it thinks only the drab harshness of life is its reality and not its beauty and imagination.
If I have to classify what humour I like to sense at all, I’d say it’s one of embarrassment. That is why I like to go to humour because, at the end of a busy, tiring day, I like to break the tension with some people who have it as bad or worse than me. These people teach me to laugh at myself or smile and say something stupid to break the tension of a situation. These are the people who make me try to be funny but, to always accept that others may not find it so. When I miserably fail at humour, these people help me back on my feet again because, they are way worse off than me. The second most important reason ( the first being simply to break the tension of the moment ) for why I turn to comedy is to remind myself that all my foibles ( really, ALL of them ), are fine and not the end of me. Like music, comedy instills a sense of community because it reminds us there are others who have a tendency to make a fool of themselves constantly and we’re not alone in this. Idiots need to unite from time to time, otherwise the world would be impossible to live in.