What’s so funny?

Last night a group of my friends went to the Funny Bone to see D. L. Hughley. There was an emcee, whose name I do not remember, and an opening local comic named Danny T.

After the show, we discussed the humor – what we found funny and who, of the three, was the ‘funniest’. Oh, funny’s a difficult term to pin down. I know I don’t write humor. My husband doesn’t think I’m funny (something about my joke timing is off), though several of my friends laugh at my jokes. Well, they laugh when I’m not joking, too, but that’s probably another story.

I hadn’t seen enough of D. L. Hughley’s humor to know what was repeated and what was new from his act. Danny T I have heard once before, and I recognized a couple of his lines. Both the comics have different styles, and one of my friends thought Hughley seemed more practiced.

Is that bad?

Most jokes are definitely funnier the first time around, but some of them are funny every time. It must be hard to be a comedian.

It must be harder if you’re afraid to offend someone. Most of the jokes were at least a little off-color. It reminds me of a quote from the book Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, I had thought — I had been told — that a ‘funny’ thing is a thing of a goodness. It isn’t. Not ever is it funny to the person it happens to. Like that sheriff without his pants. The goodness is in the laughing itself. I grok it is a bravery… and a sharing… against pain and sorrow and defeat.”

What do you think of jokes?

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5 Comments

  1. Sarah said,

    15 May 2010 at 13:10

    We have a couple DVDs of Eddie Izzard. No matter how many times we watch them (and it’s already been more than you could count on both hands and your feet), they’re still funny. We know each bit by heart, but still laugh along with the audience on the disc. Why? Who knows. Something about the way he looks at the world, his sense of timing, the fact that the whole thing really almost seems to be improvised?

  2. Shawna said,

    15 May 2010 at 13:34

    I think the best jokes are ones that don’t seem to be jokes. I enjoy the comedians who seem to have a one-sided conversation with the audience. They may look to the audience (either sitting directly in front of them, or reading the book) and “interact” with the audience, but they realy don’t depend on a reaction for the joke or line to be funny. This is most likely the hardest form of comedy, but when done well, it’s also the funniest, and most effective (in my opinion). =)

  3. ransomnoble said,

    15 May 2010 at 22:21

    I’m amazed they can do their acts at all. And I’m glad- Laughter is great!

  4. Jamie said,

    16 May 2010 at 09:15

    I love going to comedy shows and I don’t care how many times they have told the routine (When I saw George Carlin the second time and five years later it was still much of the same act but funny still). I used to sit and listen to Bill Cosby records over and over again.

  5. ransomnoble said,

    16 May 2010 at 09:19

    I think it’s interesting that it is different for some people that way. I do like listening to some jokes again, like on a CD, but if a person would tell me the same one time and again in person, I don’t think I’d have the same reaction.


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