-What is humor?
-What makes you laugh?
-How often do you laugh?
-What's with all of the questions, Bryan?
The dictionary says that humor is: a comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement.
Great! So what is absurd? I think it's absurd that people still ask me if I can use chopsticks. I'm half joking, but if I didn't say I was half joking, would you know? Can you see the absurdity in that question? The question amuses me, so is it comedy? Are most folks I meet hilarious comics? Hmmm...
I know what some of you are thinking too! I can hear your thoughts!
But what if I'm not interested in humor?
Well, you should be. Humor refers to the tendency to experience or express what is amusing and funny, which is always accompanied with emotional response and vocal-behavioral expressions, such as laughter and smiling. Humor is universal, but culturally specific. Understanding how culture influences humor is important when learning a language.
Before we press on, do you think you laugh mostly when you're uncomfortable or embarrassed? Do you feel free to laugh at work?
My favorite stye of comedy is satire!
Satire is a text or performance that uses irony, derision, or wit to expose or attack human vice, foolishness, or stupidity. There is satire in Japan, but only in unoffensive word play form. You rarely find anybody on Japanese TV saying anything satirical about Japan. There's an unspoken rule to not go against society, political culture and authority so it's like watching entertainers walk on eggshells.
Am I being negative when I say this? I think the main goal with comedy in Japan is not to cause anyone to “lose face" unless of course they're not Japanese.
How about Irony? This is the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
Irony can be positive and playful, but other times it can dip into hostile sarcasm. In either case, using irony can be a very bad idea.
Hey, don't play with your words!
I'm a fan of word play! This is a literary technique and a form of wit in which words used become the main subject of the work, primarily for the purpose of intended effect or amusement.
Wit is the capacity for inventive thought and quick understanding. It's not inventive to scream the obvious though. You've seen it a bazillion times! Comedian hacks screaming adjectives at every obvious moment.
I bet you watch Manzai! You're smiling arent you? Manzai is a type of two person standup comedy involving a straight man and an idiot. Most of the jokes revolve around mutual misunderstandings, double-talk, puns and other verbal gags. A lot of screaming too.
Examples of word play include phonetic mix-ups such as spoonerisms, obscure words and meanings, clever rhetorical excursions, oddly formed sentences and double entendres. Have fun looking all those up! (I'm being sarcastic...most readers stopped reading this after a few seconds)
Do you watch TV? Most of my students say they don't, but I don't believe them.
C'mon, what do you watch on TV? You're missing out! Situational comedy is a television or web series in which the same set of characters are involved in various amusing situations.
Do you listen to podcasts?
I watch a lot of YouTubers, but I don't watch TikTok. I don't get TikTok!! TikTok lets its users easily share short funny clips which can go viral really easily....funny clips? My daughter watches TikTok and she shows me mind-numbing videos. Are you a TikToker?
OMG, that guy ate hot ramen while spinning in a dryer..hahahahahaha!!
Physical comedy is a form of comedy focused on manipulation of the body for a humorous effect. It can include slapstick, clowning, mime, physical stunts or making funny faces.
Everybody enjoys a little physical comedy, but it can become low comedy.
Low comedy, has no underlying purpose except to provoke laughter by buffoonery.
Buffoonery is behavior that is ridiculous but amusing. I do love buffoonery! Two good examples are Jackass and Waratte Wa Ikenami.
What do you find funny?
Are you too conservative to belly laugh?
Are you a sourpuss?
Did you finish reading this?