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Why and How People Try to Be Funny

Updated on October 19, 2017

Disclaimer

I am by no means a comedian or anything close to it nor do I know “what it takes to be funny”. That said, hopefully you'll enjoy some humor from my characters.

The good, the bad and the not funny at all

Let’s start with the concept that there is a spectrum like many things in life that categorizes people on why they attempt to make other people laugh. We’ll label one end of the spectrum with purely natural humor that is enjoyable and not irritating. The other end is what I like to call strangle humor; I’ll begin with the latter. These people will do anything and everything to make someone laugh and I don’t mean in the Jim Carrey or Andrew Dice Clay way of holding a passion for comedy. It’s one thing to frequently attempt making people laugh when you’re good at it. It’s only natural that when you receive positive reactions of people laughing every time or almost that often, you feel that dopamine release and continue that path. In that sense, you can never have to much laughter- but I digress.

The folks who try so incessantly to make you laugh and are far from humorous are very tough to tolerate. Usually, their true self comes out in some inappropriate fashion and it’s a suck personality. I worked with someone that could be funny but usually he wasn’t trying. Unfortunately, this was rare and 98% of the time his crude and rude jokes would be his response when he was at a loss for words. I guess you could say that it was his coping mechanism for dealing with awkward situations. These people are the worst; not only are they not funny, they end up offending people in the process. It’s a double dumping failure and their humor as just tragic.

Next, would be the guy or girl that maybe isn’t as vile but also doesn’t bring anything to the table either. It’s captain awkward or in this case, we can call him Awkward Aaron. He was born without the ability to read social cues but beholds a super power of droning on long enough for us to develop time travel. Awkward Aaron is ready to suck the comfort and humor out of your life. For his finishing move, he’s equipped with a drawn out build up to a punchline that ends up punching you in the soul. He desperately strives to make you laugh in order to fit in, get attention or if it’s a romantic attempt-well, you get the picture, he’s a slimy putz.

Here he comes to save the day

Thankfully, there is a balance between funny and not funny as is there is with good and evil . We slide down to the other end of the spectrum for a pleasant humorous type.

Picture this: you’ve been working all day, you’re tired, irritable and your boss slept on the couch the night before, prompting him/her to take it out on you and your co-workers. The hero swoops in and starts making fun of Melvin who is at least 170 years old and has no business working (or walking for that matter). Your naturally funny co-worker gives off the impression that even if no one were paying attention, he’d still be cracking the same jokes. That’s a good sign of someone who is truly funny and a real comedic distraction to the mundane workday. He’s also careful and smart enough to not make inappropriate jokes too openly . It’s not that he doesn’t, he’s just aware enough to save it for the people that will enjoy it and not take offense. He’ll usually break the ice with the people that rarely laugh including the managers who intentionally hold back on the humor. He’ll do so perhaps by bringing up Melvin who went up for his 89th visit to the restroom because of the 500 gallons of tea and Metamucil he consumes to live for freaking ever!

Survival mechanism

Getting serious for a second, humor has been used for as long as we can remember (not a historian so don’t even expect example) and is still a way to cope with uncomfortable circumstances. Personally, it’s how I make the best out of many stressful situations, except cleaning the cat litter; that just consumes me with pure rage. You could be working 14 hour days, stuck in traffic for an hour or perhaps you’re just really constipated. Irrespective of your digestive issues or anything else causing frustration, laughing about or making fun of it seems to lighten the load (pun intended).

I was going to continue further, but aside from the fact that I have nothing else to say, wasn’t that pun the perfect way to end this article? Nothing like reverting back to being a 5 year old with some good old fashioned potty humor.

Alright, time to go to bed, it’s almost 2:00 in the morning and I’m sure Melvin will be up in an hour for his first blast of Metamucil to get the day moving.

Till next ride

B.N.Hook

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      Brian Newhook 4 weeks ago from Ashland, Ma

      Agreed, those people have a gift of naturally being funny and or at minimum, an awareness of not pushing it too far.

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      Verlie Burroughs 4 weeks ago from Canada

      I think some people just are funny, they don't even have to try. My brother is like that. When he starts telling stories I start crying, I'm laughing so hard. It's a gift.