What is humor?
Miriam Webster defined it as something that is or is designed to be comical or amusing. While on the reliable online free encyclopedia, Wikipedia, it is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. Whether it’s Webster or Wikipedia, both agree with the fact that humor entails amusement. And I couldn’t agree more. But as an average thinker that I am, I have other simple understandings with the matter.
Most of the times, when humor is mentioned, what quickly comes to our minds are the different jokes that we heard over and over. May it be those classic punch lines, pick-up lines, green jokes or even simple mispronunciation of words can instantly be associated with humor. Simply put, anything that made/makes people laugh is humor.
Furthermore, we think of humor when we encounter a funny person doing hilarious, exaggerated and sometimes absurd acts. A clown is a perfect example of this particular person. If not all, most of us enjoy a clown’s performance. But we’re not only talking about clowns here. That person can be a family member, relative, friend, co-worker or even a complete stranger. It may be very inconsiderate of me but I am guilty of laughing at someone else’s funny mishaps. Such as those models tripping off the runway, a person accidentally sneezed at someone, a person stuttering and messing up the words and grammar, and the list goes on. I’m sure you have the same encounters.
Moreover, in conformity with the first definition, humor is not only limited with acts and jokes. A simple picture, painting, or design that exhibits amusement is still a representation of humor. Therefore, either it’s moving picture like those comedy movies or funny home videos or still pictures, the mere fact that we’re entertained and amused is enough implication of humor.
However, I may slightly disagree or make some revisions with Webster’s definition.
Yes, humor can be drawn out of something designed to be humorous or funny or amusing. But in addition, humor is a natural occurrence. It happens and comes out of nowhere. And that’s what makes it more amusing, its being unexpected. Actually, anything with the element of surprise really awakens emotions and reactions and in this case, being joyful and being able to laugh. This is actually how I understood Wikipedia’s version.
But of course, there is more to it than that. In a deeper sense, for me, humor is not only confined with being a quality that we look into for a companion. It is not also just an idea or an act that makes us laugh. And most especially, it is not just about what is funny. For some it is a way of living.
I am fortunate enough to have known a person who enlightened me with that answer. He said that humor is part of his life not because he wants to laugh or jokes around but because he wants to be happy. Not that he doesn’t want to laugh or have fun, who does? It’s just that for him it is more than the laughter. “Humor is not just about laughing. At times, what made people laugh makes us feel guilty instead of being happy. I see humor not only as a source of laughter but also of happiness. There really is a thin line between the two, laughter and happiness that is. Not all of what’s causing us to laugh can cause us happiness,” he added.
Indeed, it’s such enlightenment and he definitely gave humor another meaning. Important lesson of the day: Humor is happiness.