The Importance of Incongruity in Comedy

Humour or comedy is a tendency of encounters to elicit sudden and spontaneous laughter and give fresh entertainment to those involved. Humour is said to be contagious, the germicide and accelerator of happiness. The word derives from the Greek humoral, which meant the balance of humours in the body, associated with healthy emotion and bodily health. In English, the word has been used to mean good cheer, and is an expression of solidarity and affection for the people concerned.


Humour can be defined as a lightheartedness that sometimes makes people feel foolish. It may sound like the title of a comic play, but humour is in fact very much in the eye of the beholder. A person may view something funny when another may find it utterly ridiculous. For instance, a twelve-year old may find one eleven-year old girl in a swimsuit making fun of her thin legs, while another may take offence at a baby gagging over a toothpaste commercial. While one may consider the example above an extreme, it does reveal a certain sense of humourlessness in people who are considered to be lacking in so-called’social talents’.

In contrast, extremely funny people are famous for their ability to make others laugh. This is because the ability to have humor is a natural defense mechanism for the human species. During prehistoric times, it was important for survival that people should not make jokes at other people’s expense. To poke fun at another individual’s misfortune was to put him or her in a bad light, and may lead to certain consequences, such as being thrown away alive from their group. Today, we tend to laugh at someone’s joke because it is hilarious and we find it harmless to crack jokes at other people. However, there are some individuals who take offence when someone makes fun of them without hesitation.

Another factor that sets daughter apart from the less humorous individuals is incongruity. Incongruity refers to an exaggeration on the normal or expected scenario. An example of incongruity is seeing a pregnant woman with a child in her tummy. It would be absurd for anyone to actually see such a scene coming. However, an otherwise normal or acceptable scenario becomes ridiculous when viewed through the eyes of a humorous person.

A perfect example of incongruity can be seen in how an audience reacts to a particular storyline in a sitcom or a funny movie. Normally, most people would laugh or at least take it in good taste to see more words with the same expression on the TV screen. But in case of a sitcom, an entire character’s reaction to a given situation can be considered highly offensive. The writers are aware that their characters cannot react to a situation unless it is funny for them. It is the rare but unfortunate sitcom that does not show more words with the same facial expression, except for the ones in the script, which are explicitly mentioned.

Some may find it offensive when others laugh at and enjoy the very presence of other people, or the very notion of incongruity. This is one reason why so many comedians rely so heavily on humor to keep the crowd cheering and laughing, but not for long. This is what makes a funny scene, a funny moment, a funny episode. And the best place to find them is in a video, like the one we just saw, which spoofs both humor and incongruity in a hilarious bit of viral marketing.