What Makes Funny Lines Socially Effective?
Humour or comedy is often the trend of daily encounters to elicit laughter and give light entertainment. The word humour comes from the Greek root humus, meaning humour, a sense of humour or the ability to derive humour. The ancients knew the importance of a healthy balance of chemicals in the body, called humours, that controlled emotion and human health. Humorous writings were common fare in ancient Greece as well as Rome and Egypt, and even in medieval Europe, where being humorous was considered a mark of sophistication and intellect.
The ability to tell a joke or make people laugh can be considered a gift. In the same way, humour is considered a gift. And it is also a powerful gift. We tend to look for ways to share jokes and funny things with others to lighten our day. Humor, more than other forms of expression such as anger or violence, is therapeutic.
Two areas where humour can be used effectively are in conflict resolution and overcoming bad fortune. Consider the following dialogue from a movie called Pineapple Night: The man said, “What is wrong, dear woman? You know you are married to a smart but not very funny man.” A lady reply, “Oh no, not at all. He is only funny when he needs to be funny.”
This dialogue from the movie Pineapple Night is funny because it speaks about the difficulty of marriage for the woman, yet shows her intelligence by showing how situational humor can overcome adversity. In the same season, there was a story that showed how the injured deer was able to rise from the dead. An ambulance crew took him to the hospital where he was given emergency surgery. It was later determined that the deer had died from a bullet wound from one of their officers.
Incongruities can be funny when they add to the comedy. In the same season episode, Tom Arnold asked what his supervisor was doing while he was in the office. The supervisor replied by asking Tom Arnold if he had a problem. Tom Arnold responded, “No, I just need a bit of help to get home.” This humorous exchange illustrated the difficult nature of dealing with incongruities that result in humorous situations.
It takes an understanding of language and a bit of creative thinking to come up with truly funny lines. Incongruities can be funny when they show the inability of someone to handle a situation. The last edited scene in Pineapple Night illustrated this when Frank talked about how good he was at handling situations. In the same season episode, Daphne Cosmo saw how bad her luck was that she got a man pregnant.