Tag Archives: humor

(6) Favorite Thing I Read Today—The Humor Code by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

This just made me laugh.

In 2004, Willibald Ruch coined the term “gelotophobia” to refer to the fear of being laughed at. There’s no known cure for gelotophobes, but for a start, it’s best to keep them separated from gelotophiles (those who enjoy being laughed at) and katagelasticists (fans of laughing at others).

And here’s what they suggest, after their global research. I couldn’t agree more.

Surround yourself with the people and things that make you laugh. Seek out interesting places and interesting people. Focus on the friends who make you laugh, not the ones who bring you down. Choose as a partner someone with whom you share a sense of humor, someone who helps you see the lighter side of life…. And it may be cliched, but remind yourself that everything is going to be okay. That thing that seems so scary in the moment, so catastrophic and worrisome, is only scary because you’re paying so much attention to it. It’s okay to complain, but add a bit of wit to your grumbling. Figure out a way to make that violation benign.

Amen.

And pick up this book. There’s a fascinating section about the Mohammad cartoonists. They were writing about the events from 2005-ish, but as the Paris bombings were fresh in my mind, it took on added significance.

(5) Favorite Thing I Read Today—The Humor Code by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

The authors set about crafting the world’s funniest joke, using all the tools they’ve learned along the way.

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls emergency services. He gasps, “My firend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says, “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s makes sure he’s dead.” There is silence, then a gunshot. Back on the phone, the guy says, “Okay, now what?”

Not very funny, eh?

In hindsight, the joke’s blandness makes sense. The world’s funniest-rated joke isn’t going to be the zinger that the most people find hilarious, it’s going to be the zinger that the least number of people find offensive…. “It’s the color beige in joke form.”

(4) Favorite Thing I Read Today—The Humor Code by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

They’re still in Japan …

The country is so homogeneous, so unified in its history and culture, that most zingers don’t need set-ups at all. There’s no need for explanation or detailed backstories. Folks get right to the punch line. One common joke, about an Olympic gymnast whose leotard was too high, has apparently become so familiar that even the punch line isn’t necessary. All you have to do is gesture to your upper thigh.

I suppose we have a little bit of that, like when someone tells a story about some stupid incident. We might shorthand it and say, “Was this person blond?” Or perhaps quote a movie line that sums up a more detailed response. But my mother and my kids, for example, rarely see the same movies.

I can’t think of any other way a joke might work with all swaths of Americans. Can you?

(3) Favorite Thing I Read Today—The Humor Code by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

They’re in Japan now.

Apparently, if you go up to strangers in Osaka and point your finger at them, they’ll pretend to be shot without missing a beat. (Later, we ask Reilly if we should try this. “No,” he says. “You might point your finger at a yakuza—a member of Japan’s mafia—”and they might freak the [heck] out.”) Osaka’s brimming with hilarity, says Inoue, because it’s long been “the belly of Japan,” the country’s trade and commercial hub, so the samurai left the city alone, realizing strict hierarchies and customs weren’t good for business. That left Osaka’s merchants free to haggle and barter and banter as much as they pleased—and a lot of jokes lubricated those transactions.

Now, I really, REALLY, want to go to Osaka.

(2) Favorite Thing I Read Today—The Humor Code by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

First, they posited, at a point sometime between 2 and 4 million years ago came Duchenne laughter, the kind triggered by something funny. An outgrowth of the breathy panting emitted by primates during play fighting, it likely appeared before the emergence of language. This sort of laughter was a signal that things at the moment were okay, that danger was low and basic needs were met, and now was as good a time as any to explore, to play, to start laying the social groundwork that would lead to civilization….”What the humor is indexing and the laughter is signaling is, ‘this is an opportunity for learning.’ It signals this is a non-serious novelty, and recruits others to play with and explore cognitively, emotionally, and socially the implications of this novelty.

This, to me, makes perfect sense because we always learn better when there’s even the teensiest smidge of humor in the teaching. Think for a moment about your favorite teacher or class and see if you agree.

(1) Favorite Thing I Read Today—The Humor Code by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner

These guys traveled the world in search of what makes things funny.

It doesn’t help that the term “humor” has had all sorts of different connotations. It wasn’t until the early nineteenth century that humor became widely used in its modern sense, as a virtue. Before that, “humour,” from the Latin word for “fluid,” referred to bile, phlegm, and other bodily fluids believed to wreak havoc on people’s moods. A “humourist” was someone whose body fluids were so imbalanced they acted mentally ill. A “man of humour” was someone skilled at impersonating an insane person.

Their working theory is illustrated as a Venn diagram. One circle represents something benign (“Grandpa”), the other circle is a violation of some sort (“erection”), the intersection is the funny (“Grandpa’s erection”).

As a side note, they made reference to a website I’m happy to report is absolutely real, Animals Being Dicks, which makes the authors my new besties.

Tape Convention

This was the first blog post I ever wrote. Originally published August 26, 2008 to launch my ‘I’m Just Sayin’ blog.

Here’s something funny. Or sad. Or both.

My daughter’s flight comes in around 5pm tonight and I’m going to pick her up, so late last night I scribbled myself a note that said “tape convention tomorrow” because I didn’t want to miss Michelle Obama or any part of the Democratic National Convention. When I got up this morning, I stared at it for about 20 seconds wondering where was this Tape Convention I’m going to today, and why couldn’t I remember signing up for it.

In my defense, it was before I had my coffee.

I wonder what kind of workshops they have at the Tape Convention.
Motivational …. “Stick to It!”
Educational …. “Masking and Scotch — the Difference is Clear!”
How-To …. “Sticky Side Down, Except When Dealing with VHS”

What seminars or workshops would YOU like to see at a Tape Convention?

I Dare You Not To LOL, part 5

I got these funny observations about life (lifeservations?) from a friend. It’s one of those viral emails that makes its way around the world in about eight seconds. Even if you’ve seen it, though, it’s worth another giggle.

I wish I knew who writes these things — some of them are hilarious. Like this one. It was long, though, so you get one every day this week —Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday. [I know you know the days of the week. That’s to remind me to link them all.]

You’re welcome!

45. I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it’s on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

46. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

47. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

48. It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

49. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

50. Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn’t know what do to with it.

51. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time…

52. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day “Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?” How the hell do I respond to that?

53. It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on CNN.com and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

56. I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.

54. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

55. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

56. The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There’s nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Got a favorite? Did you enjoy this week of lazy blogging? I know I did!

I Dare You Not To LOL, part 4

I got these funny observations about life (lifeservations?) from a friend. It’s one of those viral emails that makes its way around the world in about eight seconds. Even if you’ve seen it, though, it’s worth another giggle.

I wish I knew who writes these things — some of them are hilarious. Like this one. It was long, though, so you get one every day this week —Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday. [I know you know the days of the week. That’s to remind me to link them all.]

You’re welcome!

34. If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

35. Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I’m from, this shouldn’t be a problem….

36. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you’ve made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

37. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don’t want to have to restart my collection.

38. There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

39. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

40. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this. Ever.

41. I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There’s so much pressure. ‘I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren’t watching this. It’s only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?’

42. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What’d you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

43. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

44. When I meet a new girl, I’m terrified of mentioning something she hasn’t already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.

This might be my favorite batch. Is it yours?

I Dare You Not To LOL, part 3

I got these funny observations about life (lifeservations?) from a friend. It’s one of those viral emails that makes its way around the world in about eight seconds. Even if you’ve seen it, though, it’s worth another giggle.

I wish I knew who writes these things — some of them are hilarious. Like this one. It was long, though, so you get one every day this week —Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday. [I know you know the days of the week. That’s to remind me to link them all.]

You’re welcome!

23. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

24. Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using ‘as in’ examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss’s last name to an attorney and said “Yes that’s G as in …(10 second lapse) …umm … Goonies.”

25. What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

26. While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it…thanks Mario Kart.

27. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

28. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

29. I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

30. I would like to officially coin the phrase ‘catching the swine flu’ to be used as a way to make fun of a friend for hooking up with an ugly woman. Example: “Dave caught the swine flu last night.”

31. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.

32. Bad decisions make good stories

33. Whenever I’m Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don’t mind if I do!

Got a favorite?