What is it about random humor that captivates our attention?

“Happiness comes from within. That’s why it feels good to fart.” -Unknown


Random humor. Did you like that little tidbit?

After being introduced to all these action packed movies and flashy adventure scenes, it’s no surprise that most of us have grown accustomed to the rapid-fire pace that most of today’s movies follow. With our attention spans growing used to being held for shorter periods of time, we’re left with quick bursts of action packed scenes, which in turn result in millions upon millions of dollars for the theaters.

Now, imagine if we introduce this to comedy. Imagine the success of such quick wit and bizarre juxtapositions. Though, “introduce” isn’t the proper term for this, as it has been around since forever. Some of the earlier examples involve 19th century writing such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

And look how successful that turned out to be. But back to comedy. Comedy is a universal language. Everyone has their own feel to it, and that’s their own opinion, much like diversity of dialects. Some general trends of comedy include: romantic, ironic, satirical, etc. One of these would, of course, be random humor. When I say random humor, I mean something spontaneous. Something flashy. Something that is packed full of hilarity to pack a punch. That’s random humor. It’s wacky and out of place and that’s how it has to be.

“The passion of laughter is nothing else but a sudden glory…” -Thomas Hobbes

The correct term for this would be “surreal humor” or “absurdist humor”. And it works similar to a jump scare, coming out of nowhere, much like surprise diarrhea.

Marcel Duchamp once turned in an inverted urinal to an art contest. Did anyone else see that coming? It’s so out of place and random that it’s funny. It was quick, snappy, and caught the attention of the public.

Dr. Eliot Oring defined humor as “not the resolution of incongruity”, but “the perception of appropriate incongruity.” With absurdist humor, you have the extra factor of an “absurd” image in your head.

What does that mean? No idea, had to google the big words. Apparently it means, all humor deals with the factor of being out of place, while absurd humor adds the bonus of an image in your head as being out if place.

I think we’ve evolved to the point where we look for that quick, surprising snippet of humor that can entertain us while we continue doing whatever else we were doing.

I’ve grown accustomed to these random snippets of humor. Oh dear.

Tune in next week when I compare dark humor to food: not everyone gets it.

Yeah, no, not doing that. Nope.

-Alan

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