Where does humor come from?

Be careful about reading health books. You might die of a misprint.

  • Mark Twain

There are many types of humor: Dark humor, slapstick, parody, satire, farce, screwball, etc. We have people in society who are known as comedians. From Mark Twain to Laurel and Hardy to Charley Chaplin to Dave Chapelle. Those who are considered "funny" are often the most socially mobile.

I love comedy, but every time i hear something that makes me laugh i wonder what is it that makes something funny. Is it an evolutionary adaptation to stress? Can humor be taught or is it pre-programmed into our conciousness? More importantly is it a reaction that is somehow linked to why we enjoy art, music, and other entertainment. Is it a mutation of the brain that serves no purpose other than to increase oxygen to the brain?

From what i have seen this is a pretty hot topic. So much so that one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time, Isaac Asimov, once wrote a short story about the origins of humor called "Jokester" where SPOILER ALERT the greatest supercomputer deduces that humor is caused by aliens studying the human brain SPOILER END.

Perhaps he is right...


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