"Reversal of fortune? No way. Reversal of skill." -Uffish Thought
Question #89716 posted on 05/18/2017 7:48 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

You know the kind of people who are just naturally funny? I don't mean the ones that just know a lot of good jokes or that just have great sense of humor (though both statements probably apply to them). I'm referring to the kind of people that almost seem to radiate funniness. I'm having a hard time explaining this, so... hopefully you know what I'm talking about. Just the kind of person where things start to seem funnier just because they're around. And while they do make funny jokes, and have a good sense of humor, it's more than that. It's like being who they are amplifies their own jokes, and even other people's jokes. Things are just funnier when they're around.

So I guess my first question is, do you know what I'm talking about?

And my second question is, why? What is it that makes those people glow with funniness? And can it be learned?


-MC (who would love to learn it)

A:

Dear MC,

Robin Williams was possibly one of the funniest, most constructive comedians out there. 

It apparently came at a great cost. 

-Sadness

A:

Dear person,

This question kind of reminds me of both Ardilla and Frère, who are both truly very funny. I think a big part of it is kindness - from my experience, their humour is never aimed to tear people down and they make people feel great even when they aren't being funny. I think that helps other people to feel really comfortable. Also, they both seem to find/insert humour in regular life, which makes their subject matter virtually limitless.

-Sheebs 

posted on 05/19/2017 5:32 p.m.
Dear MC,

Setting modesty aside, I'd say that I'm a "naturally funny" person, so I can tell you a bit about what it looks like behind the scenes.

First, humor generally has to do with making unexpected connections between things. I once heard someone describe making a joke as surveying a sea of bubbling ideas and connections and picking out the very best one. For every joke I make, I'd say I probably throw away dozens of other random associations that flit through my mind. (This does mean throwing away a lot of jokes that are almost there, but not quite.)

Second, some people use humor as a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult situations. Sometimes this can be done in an unhealthy way, but for me, the fact that I'm joking about something doesn't mean that I don't think it's important. And when you're used to looking for humor in some of life's bleakest situations, it's easy to find it in everyday situations. (As a caveat, it's important to distinguish between finding humor in your own problems and finding humor in other people's problems. The former is fair game, but the latter can come off as insensitive if you misjudge the situation. Along the same lines, I think it's very important for a funny person to be willing to drop a joke and apologize when it becomes clear that they've gone too far.)

Lastly, Sheebs' observation about kindness is very important. I think human nature is inherently funny, but I don't want to seem like I'm mocking other people. However, I can make fun of myself without hurting my own feelings, so I make fun of myself more than anyone else. (With close friends and family I have more of a mutual (friendly) teasing relationship, but that takes longer to develop.)

So: Look for unexpected associations, learn to see humor in everyday life, and be kind to others.

- GG