Sunday, June 7, 2009

I See... How You Know If You are Really Funny


If you haven't figured it out by now, this blog often deals with the deeply philosophical aspects of humor: what is funny, what is not, and why. Since I have been laughed with, and laughed at, most of my known life, I have a righteous claim to pontificate incessantly on this very important issue and use big words incorrectly in the process.
Lately I've run into some honest, god-fearing people who in their deepest heart of hearts truly believe that they are hilarious- but they are not. This experience has prompted me to meditate scientifically on definitions of an objective measurement on what is funny. It is my hope that readers will take advantage of the following criteria to make a sound, reasoned judgement on whether something or someone is worth laughing at.
How do you know if you are really funny? If you can dispense the same joke, riddle, or oddly humorous life experience over and over again and still inspire laughter, you are officially funny.
Why? Because, as I patiently (at least then) explained in gory detail over a year ago on this very same blog, the root of humor lies in the unexpected. The punchlines of most jokes are actually the unexpected answers to expected questions. This is why many jokes lose their savor if they have been told too many times. For example, a toddler telling a knock-knock joke for the first time lights the eyes of all around them; however, when they recite it for the 1,279,846th time to the same mother, we can safely call it torture.
Logic would dictate, then, that the rare regurgitated joke or humorous situation delivered with just the right mustard on it by a naturally comedic genius, evoking continuous laughter on a consistent basis could serve as an accurate benchmark of what is truly funny. This was confirmed for me recently at a Brian Regan concert I attended recently. During the encore, this talented comedian re-created humorous skits from previous appearances and brought the house down! I couldn't believe it! Technically, there was nothing unexpected in either the joke or it's delivery. Scientifically speaking, it should not have been funny but it was.
Here at the Mormon Third Eye, we not only talk the talk, we also walk the walk, so now it's time test this theorem on my own material. I am funny? Let's find out. Below is a joke I told on this blog for the first time on March 30th, 2008. If I am truly funny, blogstalkers should be able to read this joke for the second time and respond with rip-roaring, milk-snorting humorous comments on its comedic value:
A man walks into a therapist’s office with a duck on his head. The therapist compassionately asks, “so, what’s your problem?”
The duck responds. “Doctor, I’ve had this man underneath me following me around for over a day now, and I don’t know how to get rid of him! Can you help me?”