It's said that the quickest way to kill a joke is to explain it, but scientists are still interested in finding out just what tickles our brains and makes us find something funny.
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You lost me at "predictable jokes are funny". That's an American thing. Children like it, too. But in the UK we equate appreciating a joke with solving a puzzle. There's a psychological reward associated with joining the dots. This also explains why you can't tell the same joke twice. Unless you're American.
Sounds like music. It needs to be somewhat predictable by not being random noise, but too predictable leads to boredom. If you can't get the beat, then it's noise. I literally cannot hear the music dubstep, so it is noise to me, even though I know that many people enjoy it. Jazz sounds like boring horns falling down stairs, so it's not enjoyable to me either.
I think the answer you keep dancing around is "if it gets too close to home, it's not funny".
Jokes outline a hypothetical reality in our heads and contrasts it with an opposing hypothetical reality; a necessary component of jokes is irony, even though not all irony is funny.
Once something has serious implications, it stops being a warning and starts being a threat.
For instance, if someone says something sarcastic to you, it's usually meant to jab at your intelligence, character, etc., which is something real and not hypothetical.
looking back on it, she's not really dancing around it, just not explaining it fully the way I understand it. Not like anyone should necessarily trust me more than her, of course; I'm just adding my take on it.
The Benign Violation Theory would also explain why racists and sexists see racist and sexist jokes as funny– the jokes don't "hit close to home," or at least not in negative way, to them, because of their place of privilege. While someone who is a minority or woman, is offended, and finds it unfunny, because that is something that they deal with all the time.
Just a thought here: Jokes could also be a way of testing what those we're interacting with find important or not. A weak violation against an important issue will be found funny, as would a big violation about something that isn't cared about. Small violations of unimportant things will be found boring, and big ones of important ones will illicit shock or pain. That's a way one can tie it back to hunter-gatherer days!
In different languages, some sounds or words or even phrases are funnier. Sometimes they are onomatopoeic like "Splat" or archaic like "hiney" or foreign yet understood as in "Pourquoi?" Regions have their preferences that others speaking the same language may deride: "wicked", "sodapop", "bless her heart." There are trigger words that are not inherently funny, but tickle some people: "Nevermind", "That's what she said", "How about a Hawaiian punch?", "Marshmallow meatballs", "Who ya gonna call?" There may not be one single thing that all humans will find funny. And most jokes will offend someone somewhere, even kindergartener jokes.
So what's funny or in poor taste is determined by your background, and therefore there are more factors at play when someone says a joke is offensive than them just "having thin skin". So... we can stop arguing about Social Justice Warriors ruining comedy now? Please? No? Still going to war over this goddamn pointless feud fueled by the villainization of empathy itself? Ok then...
So there's this guy talking to this other guy atthe bar, telling him he just got a foreign girlfriend. The other dude asks if he speaks her labguage and he answers:"No, but that doesn't matter. I don't understand American women either"
aNTI-jOKES: (unexpected to the next level)
Q: What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?
A. The black plague. (Too soon?)
Q: What's blue and smells like red paint? 🎨
A: Blue paint.
Q: What color was George Washington's white house? 🐎
Person 1: Knock, Knock. 🚪
Person 2: Who's there?
Person 1: Lettuce.
Person 2: That's impossible.
Yo momma's so fat, that... 👩
we are all extremely concerned for her health. ☤
I remember seeing Johnny Carson (a long time host of NBC's Tonight Show) in his opening monologue tell an Abraham Lincoln joke, and when the audience reaction was less than enthusiastic, he'd respond by saying "What?.. Too soon?" The first joke wasn't memorable, but his comeback was hilarious.
Plumeria Melia λ Subversion of cultural norms can be amusing. I guess your definition of benign is broader than some people's. Or you're more emotionally detached from the subjects of the dark jokes. Possiblity both.
You know the 20 minute video of the Japanese comedian group absolutely decimating their friend with cream pies, but the guy can't react to the pies? god, I laugh so hard at that. Completely predictable but absolutely hilarious
Why is a joke funny the first time you hear it, but not as funny when you hear the exact same joke again? Why is the same joke suddenly funny again, even to you, when you tell it to somebody who has not yet heard it. My understanding is that it has something to do with connecting unassociated ideas. It really just comes down to chemical reactions in the brain when ideas are first linked together.
RichGuano for the first one, neural fatigue would be part of it. it's the same reason that saying a word over and over makes it sound weird and why junkies always seek bigger and bigger highs. if you've heard the joke and laughed, you react and then need to cool down before the joke becomes funny again.
as for retelling a joke, empathy is probably part of it, reliving that first experience vicariously through someone else's reaction.
Benign violation doesn't explain a plethora of jokes that are in-moment shock. When my dad had a acute life threatening heart complication and was rushed to the hospital, the first thing I jokingly said to him when he came to was: If you do that again I'll kill you myself. And we laughed an a tension was broken. While if the timing or anything like that would have been off, it would have come across as very offensive.
According to me, this definition from Urban Dictionary is hilarious:
poop back and forth
When someone poops into someone elses butt-hole, and then they poop it back into their butt-hole, with the same poop. Forever.
You guys should make a video about the winner of the Econ Nobel Memorial Prize. Thaler's behavioral Econ work had a very significant impact on our understanding of human psychology as well as economics.
In reference to the "too soon" factor, I find it funny when someone makes a joke about something that happened a long time ago, and someone else adds "too soon". Probably because that itself is a violation of social norms. Make a joke about the recent hurricanes and someone says that? Yeah you're right, way too soon. Make a joke about the Irish potato famine and someone says that and I will probably die of laughter.
I find that most jokes tend to have a surprise twist. It seemed suspiciously dismissive that incongruity theory was discredited by nothing more than a single throw-away line about how some people find some predictable jokes funnier than unpredictable ones. You should have gone into some detail on that, at least giving a single example of such.
Also, predictable jokes are not necessarily _predictable_ . They usually still have a twist, but it's just so good that even if you can predict it, you spend the entire setup waiting anxiously for it, so when it the punch-line comes, you finally get to laugh (i.e., relief theory).
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