Experimental Lex

Playing with words.

Tag Archives: draft

Define Funny

This is the inaugural post on a theme that is central to Experimental Lex. “Define Funny” is the title for a body of work that examines the art and science of being funny.  How do you define funny?  It is probably a subjective thing to say whether I am funny or not, or what is funny.  That’s the point really.  So we will explore all of the ways that humor can be expressed, whether by accident or on purpose.  This will someday be a taxonomy of humor.  

Am I qualified to write about such a complex topic? Should humor be dissected like a frog? If Experimental Lex is anything, it is a place to try things without worrying about what other people think. So let’s get back to those questions another time.  

To begin, let’s start with the observation that comedy needs a victim. Usually. The best humor exists at someone’s expense. Note that it is not necessarily “someone else’s” expense (and I use the word “someone” loosely to refer to any person, group, or thing). The joke can be targeted at yourself and the humor is no less powerful. The observation still holds. Some of the best jokes that make people feel like they’ve torn a 12-inch hole in their side from laughing usually express some kind of inventive remark where someone is the victim. Interestingly enough, we use the expression “butt of the joke” to identify the person/group that is being made fun of.

The reason why such jokes are so gut-bustingly funny is that it exposes a partial truth and makes a comparison to something ridiculous.  The important concepts here are “ridicule” and “truth”.  The intersection of these spheres is a vast ocean of opportunity.  Throughout this ocean, there are multiple entry points, targets, and exit wounds.  

(TODO: finish this thought)

Reminder #1: this observation about humor is just one of many.  We will examine the rest in good time…

Reminder #2: this post is tagged as “draft”, which means I may come back to it and make changes.