Why do people tend to laugh
when someone slips over a banana skin or has a custard pie slapped
into their face?
Well, according to one theory of humour, we laugh because these
types of situations make us feel superior to other people. The person
who tripped over the banana skin, or was the recipient of the custard
pie, has been made to look silly and that makes us feel good. In
fact, it makes us feel so good that we laugh.
The superiority theory also explains why we laugh at certain types
of jokes. Many jokes make us feel superior to other people. In these
types of jokes, people appear stupid because they have misunderstood
an obvious situation, made a stupid mistake, been the hapless victim
of unfortunate circumstance or have been made to look stupid by
someone else. According to the theory, these jokes cause us to laugh
because they make us feel superior to other people.
Here is a classic ‘superiority’ joke from LaughLab:
A woman goes into a cafe with a duck. She puts the duck on a stool
and sits next to it. The waiter comes over and says: “Hey!
That's the ugliest pig that I have ever seen.” The woman says:
“It’s a duck, not a pig.” And the Waiter says:
“I was talking to the duck.”
The winning joke
In second place
Humour across the globe
It's all about timing
The brain's funnybone
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