A funny word or phrase, particularly in its use, is one which has earned a reputation as witty or funny, particularly in its use. In British English, however, the funniest word is likely to be prÉpise. The origin of this word goes back more than a hundred years to the days of the French Revolution. Its original meaning was “a silly clown.” The British version has since taken on a slightly broader meaning: “insulting or poking fun at someone.” In American English the word has come to refer to the use of a humorous tone of voice or an exaggeration, usually of a person or thing, to point out the absurdity of something or someone.
Bipolar Disorder is a condition in which people experience extreme emotional highs and lows accompanied by alternating episodes of mania and depression. During some periods of bipolar disorder, there can be incongruities in their moods: moments of happiness, for example, with periods of sadness. In contrast, they can be exact opposites of each other: moments of total happiness with moments of utter despair. These mood swings are characteristic of bipolar disorder and can be quite comical, as shown in the famous TV comedy sketch “Bipolar Patients,” in which the doctors were a couple who would poke fun at each other’s condition with funny lines. The episode ended with the patient going on suicide watch, supposedly due to his bipolar disorder.
The incongruity between the mood swings and the humor inherent in such shifts can make them all the more hilarious. The classic example of a moment of manic comedy was witnessed by King David, where he completely lost his control over himself and began laughing uncontrollably as he attacked another soldier. His actions did not merely amuse him for a moment; they presented him as something close to a godsend: he was there to save the soldiers he was killing so that they would not be harmed. It was in this context that his power over himself momentarily returned. In the end, however, he was still laughing: he realized what had happened but was still laughing in triumph.
A similar example is witnessed in the final episode of the Sopranos, “The End of the Sopranos.” Tony Soprano, having been shot and lying in a warehouse, sees an angel descending from the sky and announces that he has just received a message from God that he will soon be executed. Before falling onto the ground and dying, he declares that he will leave a comedy play and then laugh until his last breath. This shows us that his ability to locate and enjoy humorous things comes from within, and that what is found on television is simply the result of his ability to find something that is funny.
When laughter is the result of incongruities, it becomes a powerful force for change. If you are someone who finds it hard to laugh at the very things that can make you laugh – like a joke or a horrific event – then you can choose to turn your back on the television and watch something else. However, if you choose to embrace the possibility that laughter is not merely something that one does when they’re sad or angry, then you may find that you can laugh even when there is absolutely nothing funny to be found on television. The funny incongruity allows you to see the world in a different way that may give you insight into how to deal with problems that are uniquely personal to you.
Consider a situation where you are trying to make sense of a difficult situation or problem. Chances are that you will find that the only way to approach the situation is to examine the incongruity – that is, to ask yourself if the incongruity is funny. For example, if you watch the comedy classic “Rocky Balboa” today and find that Balboa’s character is laughing at a particularly terrible event (like killing his own dog), you might recognize that the humor in that scene comes from his realization that what he was doing – and was probably going to do – was an act that could easily become intolerable. On the other hand, if you watch a similar situation unfold in an alternate timeline where Balboa never kills his dog, you might find that watching the incongruity serves as a source of much needed perspective about how we might behave in situations like those.