Friday, May 12, 2006

funny: ha ha

i don't watch a lot of tv.
i really don't have a lot of respect for it. i have 4-5 shows that i watch regularly, but that's about it.
last night we watched the season finale of 'the office' and we were laughing so hard it hurt. that the character development was also fantastic was great, but 'funny' is really the bottom line.

why do we like to laugh? in my high school psychology class, one of my friends wrote a paper about the subject, but i obviously never read it.
yet cosmo was right: you can make the masses weep and have nothing to eat, but slip on a banana peel and the world's at your feet.

for some reason, we are drawn to funny. jared hess is the funniest person i have ever known personally, and whenever he would start telling a story, work would slow down and people would congregate around him, because we knew we would be laughing. and not just a courtesy laugh or even a sincere laugh, but a deep down laughing-until-it-hurts that you try not think about during the take, because you will just laugh again.

it's really fun to laugh, and it feels really good.
why, though?
if you can make someone laugh, they like you.
i think tv is generally dumb, but shows that make me laugh will have me there every time.


Alyssa Rock said...

It's funny you should mention that you discussed humor in your high school psychology class because I remember talking about it in mine too. I can recall that my teacher once made the interesting comment that the defining characteristics of humor is that it's hierarchical. Although it's not always intended as "mean-spirited," all humor establishes a pecking order of sorts: humor either puts someone or something down (whether it be other people, an inanimate object or just yourself) OR it sends a message about who is inside/outside of a given group (at the very least between people who "get" the joke or cannot).

I think that's an interesting theory especially in light of sociolinguist Deborah Tannen's theories about the differences between male and female communication. Tannen argues that men are socialized to communicate hierarchically (that is, they communicate to establish the pecking order on the male social ladder---who's up, who's down).

Females, on the other hand communicate in a way that equalizes everyone---puts everyone on the same playing level, as it were. For example, every girl knows that if a girl says "I look SOO fat!", the correct response is to either say "No!!!! You're NOT!!!" or "I'm so much fatter than you," etc. to put her back on the same level as everyone else. When female communictation gets "nasty" is when one female becomes precocious and asserts her superiority. Sometimes females react by putting her down behind her back, etc.---punishing her and putting her back in her place.

It's an interesting theory and it may explain why IN GENERAL men tend to be funnier than women. Perhaps women aren't as comfortable with hierarchical communication.

Okay. I'm a nerd. I think this post is longer than your original post. But it's an interesting topic, so I thought I'd say something.

Em said...

Oooh, she sounds smart. I have noticed that comparison and heirarchy tend to make men feel better about themselves and women feel worse about themselves, but I never knew why....

But good job on thinking hard and ponderous thoughts Jeff. That's another cosmic question I'd like to ask Dean (then sit and listen to him talk for 30-40 minutes about it).

-->jeff * said...

that a posting of mine can elicit such a lengthy response causes me to consider it a success.

i want to be funny like dean someday.