Think of your favourite jokes, comedy sketches or scenes from a funny film….
What is the one common thread that ties those chuckles together?
May I suggest, “laughing at someone’s expense”?
At the root of every successful form of comedy is some level of poking fun at someone else or oneself.
Comedy needs a victim.
The victim is seen to be deserving for various reasons; hubris, pride, arrogance, stupidity, aggression, etc. but, for whatever the reason they have deserved to be the butt of the joke, we find it amusing.
The acts of smiling, chuckling or laughing at joke, sketches or slapstick are completely involuntary, it’s almost impossible to control in advance what one finds amusing.
Yet, apparently, “Food allergies are not a punchline“.
Be very, very afraid of the joyless people who require us to not laugh at a joke.
As P.J. O’Rourke explains, they’ve confused the fact that they would prefer it if we didn’t find something funny with the reality that we still do.
He gives the example of Helen Keller falling down the well and breaking 4 fingers shouting for help. We know we shouldn’t laugh at that but we still do.
Q. How do you know if someone is gluten-intolerant?
A. It’s the first thing they’ll tell you.*
* also works for vegans, boot camp participants or people from Yorkshire.