When someone tells a joke and you say it’s unfunny, uncreative, god awful, the common defense is, “Well humor’s subjective”, I however disagree. For a long time I have had a problem with smiling or even laughing at someone’s frustration, and for a long time I have tried to figure out why I do this. I have found it seems to be a coping mechanism for tragedy and pressure. I can go one step further and say humor entirely is a coping mechanism for that which can be seen as negative, for a few examples.
Let’s start with deconstructing this joke. You would go in expecting something unpredictable but instead you get the most obvious answer, and well you could see this as shocking or scary that you weren’t correct, humor prevents you from that reaction.
Think about the darkness of this comic. William Tell’s son is heavily implied to be shot in the head and killed, that’s not funny, but the reason he dies is. Warren’s death involves his irregular head size, the size of his head is unusual and unnatural for humans and that can be perceived as negative, which is where the coping mechanism of humor kicks in, allowing us to enjoy the weirdness and absurd darkness of this idea. There’s even a good explanation for non sequitur’s and modern meme’isms I talked about in my first blog post.
They’re so stupid, so obviously pointless, meaningless, that we must laugh at them in order to not be scared or angered by their existence. In conclusion humor is not whatever you want it to be, it’s born in a negative situation where you need a positive outlook. Of course sometimes we can laugh in a situation where things need to be serious and there’s no room too take things lightly. Those are my thoughts on humor, and I hope you enjoyed them as well as my next post.
Gary Larson (William Tell’s other son)