Saturday, April 01, 2006

What's So Funny?

Ok, so if laughter is the best medicine, let’s take a look at this miracle cure. I googled “types of humour” and got this long list of words or expressions we use for laughter (remember Eskimos have 20 words for snow, in other words, we really love our laughter)

Laugh
Belly laugh
Guffaw
Chuckle
Chortle
Cackle
Giggle
Snigger
Titter
Smile
Smirk
Grin
To kill oneself laughing
A roar of laughter
Shrieks of laughter
A fit of the giggles
To crease up
To be convulsed
To be rolling in the aisles
To be in stitches
To bust a gut

Laughing out loud. Or to ourselves. It is healing, no? We might all have different senses of humour, different things that crack us up (lord knows, some things people think are hilarious, just make me go huh? And I am sure others feel the same about me and mine, hard to imagine, I know), but finding the thing that makes us laugh ‘til we cry, and the people that share that way of seeing the world, boy it makes all the difference.

Now I am not the kind of gal who looks for research and studies (although after writing this post, I came across this related post, check it out) to prove the things that just feel right for me intuitively (to many people’s criticism, I might add, but I laugh in their face, mouhhahaha), so I can’t prove to you that comedy cures cancer, or that humour heals hearts. But I know it’s true. On the days when I get that funny email, or have a chat with the friend who has me gasping for air between gales of laughter, or I watch the movie that hits my funny bone the right way, I just plain feel better. My muscles and organs have gotten a workout. Smiles come quicker in all situations. I am more tolerant when I am driving or dealing with difficult people (funny I put those together, clearly I think they are one in the same, and refuse to see that the driving thing might be about me and not them!). I am more willing to see my own part. The world is a better place. Hmm, and I am a better person.

And here is an interesting idea to ponder. We won’t be able to laugh when we don’t have bodies (or cry, or dance or have sex for that matter). I am even going to venture to say that laughter is a privilege that comes of being in a human body (am I missing out on other things that laugh, for instance, do laughing hyenas really laugh or is this just a manner of speaking based on what seems to us like laughter, or do chimpanzees laugh, or other members of the family tree). Maggie doesn’t get to laugh. She does this little thing that I could swear is smiling, but never, ever has she laughed (perhaps she has just not had the occasion to laugh as we don’t share the same sense of humour?!?).

So how can I make sure I get my laugh a day to keep the bogie man away? I mean it is not like an (organic) apple that I can just pick up and eat. Obviously I need to know what makes me laugh. Is it visual gags? Or witty comments? Or pathos? Or satire? Do I like irony, or farce, or sarcasm? Is it slapstick and buffoonery or parody or mimicry or absurdity that do it for me? And once I know what I like, what are the quickest routes to get it? What are the primary sources of that style of humour? And what is an almost guaranteed laugh? And what makes the difference between a chuckle and a thigh slapping, gut splitting, fighting for air, at its mercy roar of laughter? Frankly I don’t know, since I have never taken the time to break it down, analyze it or explore my preferences. Well, I think it is high time!

To get us started, here is Wikipedia’s definition of humour:
Humour (humor in American English) is a form of entertainment and a form of human communication, intended to make people laugh and feel happy. The origins of the word "humour" lie in the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which stated that a mix of fluids, or humours, controlled human health and emotion.

Along with a site that starts us on the road of exploration.

And over the next wee while, interspersed with rants and whatever else is current and important, I will bring you what I learn about different types of humour.

5 Comments:

At 2:48 PM PDT, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

There is usually ample opportunity to laugh at myself at least once a day! If not, then you can dredge up some old situation that always makes you laugh. The Far Side type humour always works for me! When I was recently in the Cardio Ward of a hospital with 3 other women all on heart monitors, they called a code blue and we all instinctively turned and looked at our own monitors as if to proclaim,"Phew! It's not me!" When we realized what we had done, we laughed again and again for 3 days! People are funny even in the face of adversity.

 
At 5:01 PM PDT, Blogger Signy said...

People are funny especially in the face of adversity, I find. There is a gloves off thing that happens when our lives aren't "perfect" and so we have permission to be even more real.

I think I have always been fond of black humour and gallows humour, even before I got sick, but now I have a deeper appreciation of all that it can hold. Still, it rarely makes me bust a gut, but rather has me smile a sideways "wow, that was clever" kind of a smile.

 
At 8:47 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it, thanks for the laughter webpages. Cowtown Dawn

 
At 2:13 PM PDT, Blogger Signy said...

More to come! Because laughter really is so powerful! And do you have any funny sites you might want to add?

 
At 2:16 PM PDT, Blogger Signy said...

Here is something a friend passed on, and it made me both chuckle and, in some cases, split a gut!

Church Bulletin Typos

Ø The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

Ø The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." The sermon tonight "Searching for Jesus."

Ø Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

Ø Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your
husbands.

Ø The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.

Ø Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "Hell" to someone who doesn't care much
about you.

Ø Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Ø Miss Charlene Mason sang "I will not pass this way again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

Ø For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Ø Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

Ø Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor
Jack's sermons.

Ø The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing "Break Forth Into Joy."

Ø Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

Ø A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

Ø At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Ø Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Ø Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Ø Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

Ø The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

Ø Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

Ø The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

Ø This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Ø Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

Ø The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

Ø Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

Ø The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend
this tragedy.

Ø Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

Ø The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours

 

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