We’ve all experienced those laughs that come right from the belly and cause our sides to ache, our eyes to water and our lungs to burst with happiness. But why? What makes things so gosh darn funny?
Theory #1 – I’m the best!
Commonly known as the Superiority Theory, it is a concept that says all humor involves a feeling of superiority over someone or something else. The ability to ridicule is one of humor’s primary uses. A quick joke over the dinner table referring to a sibling’s embarrassing moment or children in gym class who taunt before the race begins.
Theory #2 – I needed a good laugh
The Relief Theory of comedy explains that laughter is a mechanism needed to reduce psychological tension. A good laugh can make you feel less stressed. Or maybe a nervous laugh helps get you through the big presentation and ease your mind.
Theory #3 – Laughing is Contagious
Sometime the funniest part of something is watching someone else try not to laugh. For example, actors on Saturday Night Live who are trying to keep a straight face during the onslaught of jokes, or a broadcaster who has caught the giggles from their co-host. If one person begins to laugh, much like yawning, it tends to spread on and on.
Theory #4 – Schadenfreude
Schadenfreude means finding humor in another’s person’s pain. Very similar to the Superiority Theory, the humor comes from someone else’s misfortune. The German word “schadenfreude” translates roughly to “harm-joy.” A good example of this is someone slipping on ice and then continuing to slip every time they get up.
Theory #5 – The Situational Comedy
A lot of comedy moments come from social interactions gone awry. Most of TV comedies are built on character goofs. Someone telling you a story about a goof can easily lead to some good laughs.
With these five theories in mind, have you ever noticed that watching a comedic movie is funnier in a group than by yourself? Can you imagine seeing a comedy live? At Mount Baker Theatre there are plenty of hilarious comedies coming up this season and you won’t want to miss them.
Ladies of Laughter: Funny and Fabulous. The comediennes include Jane Condon, Kelly McFarland and Robin Fox for a night that is sure to be filled with a little bit of everything. From stories of the schadenfreude of motherhood to poking fun at faux fitness, or the tales of suburban “dieting lifestyle,” these women are sure to have stories and the timing to make you laugh.
How about a blast from the comedic past with Classic Chaplin with Live Score? Charlie Chaplin’s quirky movements and stellar presence in the face of situational comedic moments are brought to life for the whole family’s enjoyment with the talent of organist Dennis James.
The bestselling humorist of sardonic wit and satire, David Sedaris, might be more your style as he describes his unique perspective on everyday events as a NPR humorist and bestselling writer. His ability to retell the human condition with satire and awareness brings together masterful comedic moments.
Another great storyteller sure to bring some laughs to the audience is Ira Glass. How have his life lessons shaped his world as a weekly public radio host of This American Life?
From the present concerns of the Ladies of Laughter to reflecting on the work of Chaplin and the lives of Sedaris and Glass, the most important part of comedy is honesty – honesty and sharing. Whether it is sharing the story of a funny moment or the relief of the story resolving, sharing a laugh with someone else is what makes comedic moments the energy charged spectacle we live for.
Join your fellow patrons and experience moments of unbridled laughter. You’ll delight in the giggles, camaraderie and honest truths of these amazing people.