Laughter is said to be good medicine. It releases endorphins in the brain and leaves behind warm feelings of happiness and a general feel good attitude about life. Our general need to be happy is why comedy is so popular. We all want to be happy, right?
Of course we do, but what we find funny varies. I’m well aware of my sense of humor teaching teenagers (or some would say lack of sense of humor). I do not find certain kinds of humor amusing. Among the many things so not funny, would be whatever word that I happen to say that reminds students of something sexual. Or even less funny would be whatever clever comeback they have managed on the spot that is really only hilarious to a group of teenagers. My lack of finding things funny means that when I was invited to an amateur comedy night recently, I was leery. Raunchy humor doesn’t appeal… typically.
I can’t say all the time. One of the few comedies I like is “2 Broke Girls.” I must admit the humor is quite raunchy, though incredibly funny. With lines like, “We were upstairs playing hide the penis,” the show isn’t attempting to appeal to a high-class brand of viewers.
But it is good for a few thoughtless laughs. The only other comedy that appeals to me enough to tune into regularly is “The Big Bang Theory.” Obviously, a different kind of humor than the raunchiness of “2 Broke Girls.” It’s my go to comedy though when I need to lighten the mood. It’s worth a few laughs while still appealing to my appreciation of intelligence and wittiness.
So when I found myself listening to amateur comedians on a college campus, needless to say this did not appeal to my sense of humor. More than that, I cringed at the jokes about sex and drugs. Failed attempts at comedy are painful for me because my sympathy kicks in for the person attempting to be funny. Instead of laughing, I think, “Poor thing. You are failing miserably, and if your jokes are to be believed, it’s not just comedy, but life.” Probably not the reaction that they are looking for.
I also don’t do self-deprecation well. I know some people go in for that brand of humor, but I find it annoying because I spend all day preaching to teenagers and my own children to not insult themselves. I mean I want them to have confidence in themselves and be more positive. So listening to someone on stage isn’t a big hit when I can’t retaliate with a pep talk as to how they are better than that. And even more so if the comedian goes through the audience and insults the audience as per what happened at the amateur comedy hour.
The humor I do understand however is sarcasm. It is witty and quick thinking, and of course, it is also said to denote a lack of self-confidence. So why is comedy so popular then? If all of it denotes problems with self-esteem, self-confidence, and a general sense of well-being? Perhaps, we are all lacking one of those. Who knows? But “The Big Bang Theory” is on, so I’ll go enjoy my lack of intelligence being pointed out to me.
So what type of humor appeals to you?