Different Strokes for Different Jokes (part 1)

 

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Humor is defined as the quality of being amused or comic, especially as expressed in literature, or as a mood or state of mind.  As such it is very relative from person to person and situation to situation. However, despite the number of genitalia based “jokes’ in tabletop card games or Virtual Skid Row, Twitter, there are various agreed upon and time tested divisions of comedy we can all agree on, and, despite your average Joe’s aversion towards advantageous knowledge, should be aware of.  If nothing else, so as to not dip our feet into one’s proverbial mouth, especially in today’s digital socializing,  where News is synonymous with Opinion, Idiocracy has retroactively become a documentary, fact checking has been relegated to checking the comments and worth is decided by likes and followers.  In this spirit here are many of the traditional forms of humor one may cross venturing into the dichotomy that is social and media. Hopefully this will assist in understanding others.

     Absurdism

What it is: humor based on a belief that the universe is ridiculously unreasonable and meaningless. Contradictory sayings, one-liners, and paradoxes are all forms of absurdity.

Examples:

      Contradictory

  • A word to the wise is sufficient but   Talk is cheap.
  • Look before you leap yet He who hesitates is lost….
  • It’s better to be safe than sorry but remember Nothing ventured nothing gained.
  • Haste makes waste yet Time waits for no man.

      One-liners

  • If i had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they would eventually find me attractive.
  • Apparently I snore so loudly that it scares everyone in the car I’m driving.
  • A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering

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    He said “Littering!”

 

        Paradoxical

  • Nobody goes to Murphy’s Bar anymore — it’s too crowded
  • “To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.” Oscar Wilde
  •  There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

(Catch-22 by Joseph Heller)

The concept of a catch-22 is a paradox that is now commonly understood. Heller named this paradox in his eponymous World War II novel. It is a situation in which someone is in need of something that can only be had by not being in need of it. The two opposing needs in this situation are at odds with each other, and, as in most cases of catch-22 paradoxes, they are both completely logical. However, the two situations cancel out the possibility of either one occurring.

Caricature

 

 

What it is: an exaggerated portrayal of a person, often with distorted distinguishing features that might include mannerisms, speech patterns styles of dress or hairdo.

Examples:

  1. From Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice-the character of Mrs. Bennett is a caricature:          Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.
  2. Image result for caricature examples

Farce

What it is: comedy based on mockery; with broad exaggerations and stereotypes.

Examples:

  1.  Oscar Widle’s The Importance of Being Earnest is a great example of a farce. In this play, one character has invented a sick brother who lives in the country – this gives him an excuse to get out of the city for some excitement. But another character enjoys pretending to be someone else while flirting with a certain young woman. Coincidentally, both men have named their fictional characters “Earnest.” Needless to say, things get out of hand pretty quickly as the deceptions get more and more complicated due to the coincidence of names. In the end, everything unravels and the two men are both revealed as liars (but everyone seems inclined to forgive them nonetheless).
  2. In one episode of Family Guy, Peter loses his job, but is ashamed to tell his wife. He lies about it, and tries to cover up the problem by secretly going on welfare. Of course, in order to stay on welfare he has to keep lying to everyone, and by the end of the episode these lies have turned into a huge, tangled mess that comes crashing down on Peter and his family.
  3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Home Alone and The Hangover are all examples of Farce used in cinema.

Hyperbole

What it is: conscious overstatement of facts for comedic effect.

Examples:

  1. She is going to die of embarrassment.
  2. Spring break will never come.
  3. I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love youTill China and Africa meet,And the river jumps over the mountainAnd the salmon sing in the street.   – W.H. Auden,  “As I Walked Out One Evening”
  4. I had to wait in the station for ten days– an eternity. Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”

Irony

What it is: an incongruity between cause and effect or between what you mean and what you say. It’s similar to sarcasm and is typically cutting or biting. Like all other figures of speech, Irony brings about some added meanings to a situation. Ironical statements and situations in literature develop readers’ interest. Irony makes a work of literature more intriguing and forces the readers to use their imagination and comprehend the underlying meanings of the texts. Moreover, real life is full of ironical expressions and situations. Therefore, the use of irony brings a work of literature closer to the life.

Examples:

  1. “The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out alive” Robert Heinlein
  2. You laugh at a person who slipped stepping on a banana peel and the next thing you know, you slipped too.
  3. “Freedom and democracy with reign!”                                                                                 George W. Bush and his administration handled the Middle East using the military after 9/11, stating that only through American power could the Middle East achieve freedom and democracy.
  4. “Mr. President you can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you.”                                               Just before he was shot and killed, a man said the above quote to President John F. Kennedy – it appeared that perhaps not everyone in Dallas loves the charismatic man.
  5. The apple that puts Snow White into a deep sleep is dramatic irony, because the audience knows that the Wicked Stepmother cursed the apple, but Snow White does not.
  6. The Little Mermaid Eric was saved from a shipwreck by Ariel, and she fell in love with him immediately. She asks Ursula to give her legs so that she can go find him, and has to give her voice to Ursula in return. However, without her voice, Eric does not recognize her and still searches for his love.

 

Continued in next post…..

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