The Amusing Quality of Humor
3. What do you consider to be the chief function of humor? Is it biological? Is it social? Is it spiritual? Please argue your case in light of the work of comedians we have looked at thus far, such as Charlie Chaplin, Mark Twain, minstrel performers or the Marx brothers. Please refer to at least four of the readings.
The simple definition of humor by Merriam-Webster is a “funny or amusing quality, jokes, funny stories, etc., of a particular kind and the ability to be funny or to be amused by things that are funny.” (Merriam) There are many ways to describe humor because it such a big part of our lives, but the question remains, why do we laugh and what does it do for us? Laughter is everywhere and there are so many different reasons why we laugh. Laughter has a social effect on us and it connect us to others. Laughter has a biological effect on us and helps our body physical. Laughter also has a spiritual effect on us, it helps us deal with our emotions and it also releases endorphins. Humor is not only a way for us to connect with others but it gets us through life in so many different ways.
Robert Provine states in chapter one Laughter: An Introduction “Laughter is a “speaking in tongues” in which we’re moved not by religious fervor but by an unconscious response to social and linguistic cues.” Provine is telling us that with laughter we are showing others that we understand them, agree with them. Optimally we are showing others we belong with them and we do this with a simple laugh. Laughter is an universal vocabulary and we all understand it. Laughter is not like English or Spanish, we don’t have to learn to speak it. We were born with the ability to laugh. We don’t get to always decide when to laugh sometime it happens unconsciously. We see the person next to us laughing and suddenly a laugh is building up inside and soon we burst into laughter, simple because laughter is...