What makes People Laugh?


 Tammy Kister

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By Don Swinney | July 1, 2014

What Makes People Laugh?By: Don SwinneyThis is not a deep treatise on humor. If that is what you’re looking for, then I suggest you go to your computer. You’d laugh if you knew what I did. I wanted to know more about the subject, but I am not a computer person. In fact, I don’t even own one. A few years ago I was browsing in a Thrift Store, when I saw an entire set of World Book Encyclopedias for $l 0.00. I remembered how my son used to read them as a past-time even in his pre-teen years. One of my colleagues described him as “the best history student who ever came through this school”‘. He went on to graduate as one of the “laudies” from college. So how could I go wrong?So, now I know more about humor than I did when I started this article. The whole thing reminds me of a little poem I learned.Some people think they are Smarter than they really areI’m free from such deceptive sham I’m smarter than I thank I amI came from a family of funny people. l am the middle son of four brothers : two older and two younger. All of us are known in our school, church, and community as comedians, cut- ups, and wise-crackers. We didn’t start out that way, but by the time we were teenagers, we were well on our way.In my case, I was cast in school plays as the comedian. The teachers must have seen something in me. Then I became a teacher and for 35 years, 5 days and a week, six times a day, I got to be the teacher whose number one characteristic was a sense of humor according to my students. So I maintain that I of’ all my brothers had the most opportunities to display my wares.Possibly, what held me back was my family moved around a Jot. Fortunately for me, I always found them. I spent my entire high school years in the same place. Almost 5 years after graduation, one of my classmates wrote a book on our class. The chapter on me was entitled: The Class Clown. He hinted on one thing that makes people laugh. He commented on my wise cracks as: “often at the strangest time.”One of the things that make people laugh is the unexpected. Many people may be thinking it, but he who verbalizes it gets the laugh. Once at a business meeting of the men at our church, someone pointed out there were more prisons in our little town of 25,000 than any other town in Texas, regardless of the size. A voice in the back began to chant: “We’re number one. We’re number one.’• Everyone in the room laughed.Rarely does any one form or humor appeal to everyone. Once one of my brothers, his wife, my wife, and I went to a Pink Panther movie. The three of us laughed until we cried. My wife smiled and chuckled a few times. But she’s smart enough to laugh at my jokes even if I ‘d told them a hundred times. Exaggeration is another form of humor.