Not signed in (Sign In)
This discussion has been inactive for longer than 5 days, and doesn't want to be resurrected.
    • CommentAuthormark barter
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008 edited
    I've always felt that humanity's only redeemable feature was humour and that anyone without a sense of their own absurdity is dangerous.

    So, what makes you laugh and why? And, if anyone is feeling particuarly profound, what is the soul of humour? Why do we need to laugh? Is it just a fear mechanism or our highest art form? Why is it funny when it happens to someone else and tragic when it happens to us? And is there any subject that is taboo when it comes to humour?

    Kicking things off for now:

    One of my recent favourites was the British TV comedy Green Wing. It made me laugh because it was full of adults behaving like children and doing/saying the outrageous things I want to do but can't because I would sacked/attacked/arrested. Perhaps most humour is based on the truth that for all our pretensions to be adult we behave like children far more often than we care to admit.
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
    Its Always Funny Until Someone Gets Hurt

    ... and then it's HILARIOUS

    A lot of what makes humor enjoyable in my books is when people refuse to take themselves seriously and/or try to push the envelope of what can or cannot be said as a joke.

    I'll always love the absurdity of Month Python or any of the Stephen Fry/Hugh Laurie vehicles, and it has as much to do with the absurdity as it does with their complete inability to take themselves seriously. On the American side, my favorite moments off of Saturday night live are when the otherwise straight faced cast members say something (or watch someone say/do something) so absurd that they can't possibly keep from laughing.

    I also love stuff by Jhonen Vasquez, because he's not afraid to try and take the most vile, putrid, and horrible things he can think of and cast them in an almost slapstick-funny light. And, if anyone has read his Filler Bunny books, they're chock full of him ridiculing his own style and what he finds funny.

    I also love dry, bastardly wit, which is one of the many reasons I love Warren's stuff.
  1.  (1610.3)
    Just to spice things up. Is humour sexy and can you laugh someone into bed? Is a sense of humour really the most important quality in a man for women (I have heard this so many times)?
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
    Dry, sarcastic humor is my thing. Followed by the absurd - not people who answer everyone in non-sequiturs but where they discuss thing after thing that occurs that really isn't remotely plausible.

    And to mark barter - yes, humor is the most important quality. To me, anyways. Your mileage may vary on this sort of thing.
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Things are only funny if they are tragic. Humour is a subtle and wonderful defence mechanism.
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
    A few months back I was at an open mic and quite drunk (as you must be if you're going to be at an open mic) and thought it would be funny to do a few bits that were clearly stolen from a famous comedian who I couldn't possibly be. So I picked Josh Blue, since we're both from Denver and he'd recently won Last Comic Standing and he has cerebral palsy, which I don't. I learned two things that night: One, that some people don't think palsy is funny under any circumstances and two, that if you do jokes about palsy and don't have it? People get fucking pissed.

    Anyway, puppet sex is something that makes me laugh. That and Patton Oswalt. Doomsday the movie made me laugh, but not because it was funny. That was just the only method for dealing with the intense hysteria that overtook me and didn't let up for several days.
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2008
    Just to spice things up. Is humour sexy and can you laugh someone into bed? Is a sense of humour really the most important quality in a man for women (I have heard this so many times)?

    a wicked sense of humor is incredibly sexy.

    I think the sense of humor is essential because if you can't laugh at sex, you can't really enjoy it. it is, after all, a series of ridiculous contortions that often involves embarrassing noises and squirting liquids.
  2.  (1610.8)
    Humor is the discovery of (perceived) truth in an unexpected place.
  3.  (1610.9)
    Racism, misogyny, tribalism...all the thoughtless, small-minded attitudes that keep down their holders as well as the more obvious effects on their targets. These terrify me if I think too much about them, and threby are hilarious.

    Also, a man getting hit in the groin with a football.

    Yes, a sense of humor is sexy. All my celebrity crushes are funny ladies, and I only know I'm in love when the girl can make me laugh.
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2008
    Paul Rudd improvising.
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2008
    Funny is very attractive - see Liz Lemon

    Also someone who is ostensibly good looking being utterly pathetic at trying to be sexy is very very very funny - see Lindsay Bluth Funke

    Great stand-up is something to behold, to be in an audience and have the comic just lead you through his thoughts and keep you laughing is a wonderful way to spend an evening.
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2008
    @Derleth - ...not to mention, most of the other folks in Judd Apatow's movies/shows improvising.

    I'm a huge fan of satire. I love how Stephen Colbert, for instance, can flawlessly play a caricature of a hard-line conservative, a-la Bill O'Reilly. As has been said a few times now, it's the absurdity that makes it so funny it induces side and cheek pain.

    And let's not forget Eddie Izzard. I want to reference one of his skits, but just can't figure out which one, they're all so damn entertaining.

    I think the sense of humor is essential because if you can't laugh at sex, you can't really enjoy it.

    Hell, that's half the reason sex is so enjoyable! If you're not laughing, you're taking it too seriously, and probably not enjoying it fully.
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2008
    @ St Bernard
    le sange est dans l'abre
  4.  (1610.14)
    Weirdly enough I cued a bunch of stand up in amongst my music to listen to today, David Cross & Mitch Hedberg principally. Goddamnit Mitch Hedberg was a genius. So he was making me laugh a lot today.

    As far as I can tell, humour is entirely relative and therefore impossible to define except in relative terms. Throughout your life you build up framework of concious receptor thingums that certain stimuli slot into and you think they're funny. So different cultures find different things funny, people from different backgrounds find different things funny... ya-da-ya-da... sorry it's stating the obvious but really that's the start. Then you can go into more detail about how most funny things work by subverting expectations, or through disbelief or however else things work...

    Anyway, one of my favourite funny shows of the past few years was Tom Goes To The Mayor, which has got a bunch of shouts on Whitechapel before. The plot of one of the episodes was something like this: The main protagonist, who's grotesque wife and stepsons (who hate him) have deserted him, tries to get back on his feet by starting a new business. Things go wrong through no fault of his, and hundreds of people die, screaming, in horrible detail because of his product. So he gets thrown in jail where he is convinced to kill himself by his cellmate because his vile family will get the insurance. So he kills himself and goes to hell where the devil tells him that actually there won't be any money for his family at all. The end. I detail this episode because... I don't know how they made it funny, but they did.

    And yeah, I can't speak for girls-to-guys but for me humour in a girl is vital.
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2008 edited
    @ St. Bernard

    100%, brother. It's a dream of mine to be the sole audience to a Rudd and Rogen top-of-their-heads coffee shoppe improv convo. If you haven't seen it yet:

    Michael Showalter interviewing Paul Rudd

    Also, Colbert has big, brass ones for taking the piss out of Dubya, who was five feet away, for near 25 minutes.
  5.  (1610.16)
    The Marx Brothers, particularly Duck Soup. Inspired lunacy.
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2008 edited
    I forgot to mention Bill Hicks... there's something deeply disturbing (and thus hilarious) about his skits dealing with artists selling out to corporations... it's the noise he makes... "Yeah, suck that big scaly pecker!"

    @Derleth - I KNOW! It was kinda gut-wrenching to watch Georgie's face during the whole thing. He kept smiling, but his face got redder and redder, and he almost started bearing his teeth. He lost his composure so much, you could almost see the horns poking out from his carefully groomed head. Colbert took the piss out of a BUNCH of people at that dinner, including a bunch of five-star generals, and heads of industry. The man's insane, and I love it.
  6.  (1610.18)
    Do different nations have different approaches to humour? I mean, a pratfall is a pratfall the world around but ...

    In Britain, we take great pleasure in puncturing any sign of pretension and in bringing the mighty low through ridicule. British people are often savagely abusive of their closest friends, riffing off each other to see if they can top each other pr hit a weak spot. What we call "pisstaking", often a show of affection or extended foreplay. Shows like Will and Grace suggest Americans enjoy this too but when a friend moved to New Orlean he was horrified to find that most of his workmates took everything he said completely seriously and got very offended.

    Is pisstaking between friends a dirty British habit or a worldwide disease?
  7.  (1610.19)
    Being British I love saying brutally nasty things to friends - who take it in good stride and give it back in spades. When I first spoke to friends I have in Texas they did the same as happened to Mark - took it seriously. For a while they just thought I was a prick. Maybe I am, but they came around to it in the end - mainly due to the only one who understood it from the off (and he lived in Europe for 8 years).

    I love stuff like Spaced and The Office where they play on embarrassment and awkwardness with a little absurdity. Oh, and Black Books which is just absurd. Stand-up wise it you would have to include Eddie Izzard who just takes you to some bizarre places, Billy Connolly, Bill Bailey (love) and lots of small time local comics.
  8.  (1610.20)
    Dylan Moran in Black Books is simply perfect. Anyone who has suffered the indignity of retail can't help but view him has a folk hero.

    When Peter O'Toole is doing comedy he's inspired. "My Favorite Year" is a perfect example. Even in shit like "High Spirits" he's on this whole other level of funny.

    And then there is this.

This discussion has been inactive for longer than 5 days, and doesn't want to be resurrected.