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What’s the one thing guaranteed to make you laugh?
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I’ll be honest. Twice. First, there really isn’t anything that can be guaranteed to make me laugh. Second, there are no guarantees with anything. But, I will attempt to answer this question.
Stand up isn’t something I like to watch. I used to watch it back in the 1980s and 1990s, mainly because my father and brother liked it. There were comics I could recite to you from their acts. I found them funny at times, but I could sit through a show and not laugh at all.
I stopped watching stand up almost completely.
Cartoons don’t predictably make me laugh, nor do sitcoms, or romantic comedies, or straight up comedies. I laugh at horror, but not everything. Jokes in the middle of a drama are often amusing, but I can’t say that drama and those kind of jokes always work on me.
Watching Monty Python is one of my favorite things, as is watching old television comedy shows, like M*A*S*H, Hogan’s Heroes, and even Laugh-in. Smother’s Brother’s anyone? Sonny and Cher? I’ve laughed at bits in all of them, but not every time I have watched.
Blame my being a writer for the flippancy of my sense of humor. Often analytical and probing, my mind is constantly studying. Film is my goal, and thus my area of interest as far as gaining greater skills. Humor, interestingly enough, you’ll find, is also a study in this realm. Authors have to know a gamut of tricks to make their work appealing to the readers. For me, my characters naturally tend toward sarcasm and irreverent humor, because I do. That’s not vulgarity, by the way. I’m not opting for jokes regarding gas and genitals, nor sexual jokes that are just about being gross for the sake of shocking. No. Comedy requires more skill than this. (So many times I’ve read comments where the individual was convinced they had the skill required to make a stellar joke, but weren’t even out of grade school yet, so to speak.)
Mood is another thing that affects whether I am laughing at the jokes laid down, or kind of nodding or staring. I think everyone can agree, that if you’re pissy or sad, it will take a lot to break the funk—that one tasty joke. Sometimes, that joke is never quite so funny again, or even more hilarious the next time. Whichever, it’s an elixir for the mood.
Company that you keep can affect whether you find jokes hilarious or not, too. Our brains function on so many levels in one situation. One of those levels is empathy, another acceptance. So, we gauge our companions for their sense of things. You’re not going to laugh at jokes about certain topics with certain people near. Hopefully, you don’t laugh at distasteful jokes at all, but the point is that our friends and family can shape our humor, even in the moment.
So, if you were to have the best chance at making me laugh, you’d need a good smart comedy sketch. Something uncommon, yet reflective of human consequence. The delivery is imperative, and so is my optimal mood.
Anyone for a great dad joke?
Let’s hop on over to see what the other authors have to say on this topic.
Lela Markham says
I can tell you what is almost always guaranteed to not get a laugh from me – any show with a laugh track. If they think I need to be prompted as to when it’s funny – it’s not.
Captain Maiel says
Isn’t that distracting? I always thought it was bad taste, even understanding why they did it.
Amy Miller says
I completely agree. Really, I’m not a good indication of whether or not something is funny. Sometimes I’m just not in a laughing mood.
P.J. Maclayne says
The Smothers Brothers were great! I’m still surprised my parents let us watch them with all the double meanings in some of their routines.
Captain Maiel says
I used to watch with my dad. Python, too. Most of what I watched, actually, was with him. Some great stuff.
Stevie Turner says
Some of Monty Python is funny – the dead parrot sketch and the Lumberjack song spring to mind. However, I generally like something that has a rather dry wit.
Lyndell Williams says
I will laugh with laugh tracks and when other people laugh.
Captain Maiel says
😀 A sign of great empathy.