THREE REASONS WHY YOU LAUGH

by Allen Klein

 

Researchers have found that there are three reasons, among others, that make us laugh: incongruity, superiority, and the pattern of three.

INCONGRUITY
Two antennae met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony was rubbish but the reception was brilliant.

When we hear something that is out of place, or things that surprise us, we often get some relief by laughing. According to researchers, in ancient times, the laughter was a signal that an apparent danger was nothing to fear.

SUPERIORITY
I am almost totally bald. I tell people, "I'm a former expert on curing baldness."

Telling a joke, especially about our foibles or things we don't like about ourselves, helps us rise about and deal with our situation. It's a way of getting an upper hand about our shortcomings by laughing at them before anyone else does.

PATTERN OF THREE
When a waitress in the old The Dick Van Dyke Show was serving a baldheaded man, she quipped, "Can I get you anything? Cup of coffee? Doughnut? Toupee?"

Comedians often use a pattern of three to get a laugh. They mention two straightforward things and then, whammo, the third one shatters the pattern.

The pattern of three elicits laughter because like a train wreck of the mind, you think you know where the conversation is going and then it goes off track. You laugh because you think you were headed in one direction and suddenly you wind up somewhere else.


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