Are you mistaken?

I recently read an article where a main point that was stressed was that:

Humor involves the thought that something is a mistake which is OK. For example, if a student writes 2 + 2 = 5 on a white board in a classroom, there is a good chance that some students may laugh. However, the teacher may become very irritated that the student does not know that answer. Different people think that different things are funny based on prior knowledge. Humor involves “a discovery and awareness and therefore humor s based on prior knowledge.”

Phil Dunphy. My favorite, as always. There is a specific quote in that video clip that drives home the point I aim to make.

First question: did you laugh? If you did, then you had the prior knowledge necessary to understand the humor. However, if you’re of older age and you didn’t catch what he said, let me spell it out.

“I text, LOL: laugh out loud, OMG: oh my god, WTF: why the face.”


Why the face don’t you understand this yet? Oh, I see.

Phil Dunphy was mistaken. And it’s funny. We have tendencies to laugh when something unexpected happens (mostly to other people though). If someone says something, and you have the prior knowledge to know how horribly wrong they are, then chances are extremely high you will find it funny.

Whether you are in school right now, or remember back to when you were, you will probably remember a your school’s class clown, or at least the equivalent. Someone was always about to make the class laugh. And I don’t mean in that really annoying way where you just want to walk over and punch him in the face. No, I mean that quiet kid in the corner that sits and makes sarcastic comments that make your stomach feel like it’s going to explode from laughter. That kid.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 4.35.19 PM

Not the one that makes loud comments that nobody really finds funny, and when he realizes nobody laughed at his bad joke, tries to cover it up with twelve new ones. I’m sorry, that’s not funny, that’s sad. And you should stop. Now, I’m not saying that loud people can’t be funny. It’s just really difficult to do. I definitely don’t have that skill. That’s why people remember the truly funny guy from when they were in school.


It’s a rare skill.

Especially when your classes are full of AP kids. AP kids are smart. They have TONS of prior knowledge, making the window for humor selective.

Why the face?


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