No Laughing Matter



Cason Ragland
Staff Writer

In all my studies, I’ve read jokes and jabs from Chaucer to Salinger. Through my time in school, I’ve gained a small understanding of what humor really comes down to. I often cry out “What is comedy’s purpose?” when everyone laughs in a theatre. I’m only trying to further my knowledge of humor. When a comedic piece is successful, one tends to laugh seemingly by no control of their own. These surprising guffaws are merely byproducts of what’s really at the center of all comedy. Laughing at a joke or a bit is but the surface to the comedic experience. To dig deeper, one must ask the question,“But why is it that I do laugh so?” By asking this question, you already understand comedy on a level most can only dream of. The art of humor is really nothing to laugh about. If you do, indeed, find yourself laughing at any time, then it is important to understand why one word or even a sentence can make you chortle in such a way.

Categorizing and placing certain senses of comedies within genres is a great way to start learning just how humor works. Perhaps one of your friends says to you “Yo Herb, hand me that click stick,” and points to your television remote. Depending on your sense of humor, you may find yourself laughing at the quip. In this case, I like to label this kind of joke as “absurd.” Perhaps mention the rhyme and note it down in a journal. Did I mention the journal already? You’ll want to write down any joke you hear while it’s still fresh in your mind. That way, when you recount the joke to a colleague of sorts, you can give credit to the friend who first shared it with you. Another great example is when a good friend of yours falls to the ground by accident. I like to call this category “slapstick.”

I must insist that it is a knowledge (i.e. understanding) of humor that you must pursue. As far as I am concerned, there are only five senses, just like we’ve always been taught. Please, do not give me that click-bait article headline that says “All 31 senses are pretty wild & number 28 is a real hoot.” I’m not going to list them all here, but I’m sure that not a single one of them is a “sense of humor.” The five senses are as follows: a sense of knowledge, a sense of self, a sense of being, a sense of sensibility and a sense of bewilderment. None of these things have to do with being funny. Do you really desire the knowledge of comedy? Do you have what it takes to express your true ideological views on life? Not many do, and that is quite unfortunate. These days I hardly find myself laughing at all and it’s because I’m trying, just as you should be, to get at the root of how a joke, or a bit, or a goof, or a gaff can lend itself to such a thing as a laugh.

Laughter is the most perplexing motion our body can make. It ebbs and flows with the strength of a mighty creek and, with too much laughter, one’s abdomen will ache and, slowly, their upper body will collapse from exhaustion and leave them open for attack. Laughter cannot be an evolutionary advantage over other species. It seems like I’m the only person to really take comedy seriously. I try to write about it in a way that’s meaningful and heartfelt. I want more than just a laugh from a joke I heard or observed; I want the knowledge and understanding that inspires my body to unwillingly chuckle at any given comment or scenario.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Reviews

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