Posts Tagged: humor

The Anatomy of Funny

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McGraw’s studies have led him to endorse something called the benign-violation theory, which holds that “humor only occurs when something seems wrong, unsettling, or threatening (i.e., a violation), but simultaneously seems okay, acceptable, or safe (i.e., benign.)” The form this takes in most jokes and comic situations is to begin with the threat of a violation of some sort and save the uneasiness this causes by its turning benign at its end.

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The Little [Terrifying] Prince

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The latest installment of The Toast’s delicious “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, we are gleeful to report, takes on Le Petit Prince. Featuring quotes like “I drew him my hunger and my thirst. It had long teeth, and a long throat” and “It is such a secret place, the land of tears,” Mallory Ortberg perverts every great aphorism while perfectly mimicking the doe-eyed tone of the original book.

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Summer Days Are Here

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It’s Friday! And it’s the summer! Are you sitting in your cubicle feeling the same joy Kassia Miller writes about at McSweeney’s?

And when it’s summer in the office, I get to break out all my favorite summer clothes: my lighter-weight wool pants, conservative button-up shirts with cap sleeves instead of long sleeves, and my sandals.

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And the Winner of Best Premise Award Goes to…

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Debuting what is surely one of the longer titles in literary history, Bethany Billman has published a piece called, “Lost Scenes from Generic Hipster Indie Romance Films Found in 2076 During a Museum Restoration of an Old MacBook Air and Subsequently Adapted for the Stage During Heritage Week at a Camp for 7th and 8th Graders Later That Summer.” It may not tell us much about 2076, but we are always grateful for the chance to refine our definition of “hipster.

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A Hard Job to Imagine

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It’s sometimes hard to imagine the life of the road-tarer or the elephant waste remover. Here’s to an unsung hero the world wouldn’t be the same without.

Point is, no matter how long I been doing this or how I got into it people just think I grab any old thrift-shop rag and casually fold up a doubly slipped reef knot onto Steve’s mic stand, hand it to him, and I’m done.

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Ancient Laughter

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What does a satire by Veronica Geng have in common with Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment? What do either have in common with Gilbert Godfried’s famous performance of “The Aristocrats” a few weeks after September 11? And what do any of those have in common with the Philogelos, a book commonly described as the oldest surviving joke book?

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A Heap of Cake

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It’s lovely to be wanted, and then it isn’t. You start to wonder what they want you for–the audience, the men. If it’s even about you. If all I am, despite my many professional and artistic roles, is a woman who will make you pie.

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Sorry, Fellas, You’re Not That Funny

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Plenty of people, from Christopher Hitchens to Adam Carolla, have made the assertion that women aren’t funny.

You can probably guess that we at the Rumpus disagree, since we have a whole feature devoted to Funny Women (plus we live in the real world, rather than Misogynist Fantasyland, where women have never, ever rejected Christopher Hitchens or Adam Carolla, and always laugh at their jokes).

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Laughably Good Books

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

A Bad Idea I’m About to Do.

I Feel Bad About My Neck.

The titles of comedy books almost make a good blog post just by themselves. But if you want to learn more about books to laugh to, check out this Splitsider list, “The Ultimate Comedy Library.” It includes fiction, nonfiction, memoir, oral history, and an afterword by God.

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Show Me More Funny Books Please

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“But there is another issue, too: one for which you can’t blame publishers or booksellers. The thing about being funny is that it’s really hard.

“It’s a lot harder than being serious. It requires wit, grace, agility, sensitivity; it requires knowing how hard to push and when to stop on a dime.”

Another strong argument to be made for the importance of comic literature at The Times.

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Cars are Always Funny and So are Landlords and Sex

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“The affect, here, stems from the naive individual’s skewed encounter with systems larger than himself, an encounter which, reprised again and again, plays out Bergson’s first rule of comedy: that life should be reshaped into a self-repeating mechanism (it’s no coincidence that so much slapstick involves cars: in Bergson’s terms, automobiles are automatically funny).”

At 3 a.m.

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