the insight of humor

Posted by Bushel Basket

For the longest time, I've thought that there is a different level and type of insight that be accomplished with humor. It's a complex and many layered theory of mine. It just seems that things can be said more poignantly and insightfully with humor.

I think this idea started for me when I started listening to George Carlin. It just seemed that he was giving it to you much straighter than anyone else on TV, be they politician, commentator or newscaster. The same can be said today for the Daily Show. Maybe it's just easier to call someone else's absurdity if you are using absurdity yourself.

Another possibility is that it's easier to tell the truth if you are making a joke out of it. Maybe it's an extra layer of protection, or a bit easier than just the straightforward truth.

Or, maybe by triggering extra parts of your brain, humor gets the mind working on more levels than just statements or facts. I'm thinking about zen koans, parables, and Jesus' strange statements. I mean, he could have just said that rich people wouldn't get into heaven, but instead, he gave the absurd image of a camel passing through the eye of a needle. Sadly, I found a book once that was trying to talk about the humor of the Gospels, but it was so freaking boring! (not that this blog is much better so far)

Maybe, just maybe, there something in humor that touches on the power to help people enjoy themselves. When I was in sixth grade, we had to memorize a poem. Most everyone ran for the Shel Silverstein books, but my friend Brian Piasecki and I decided to do Abbott and Costello's who's on first routine.
It was a gigantic pain in the ass to memorize, especially before the internet where we could have at least found a script. But when we got into our rhythm, it was fabulous. We had the class and the teacher rolling on the floor. We got invited to other classes and to assemblies. It was awesome having that power for a while.

Why am I thinking about all this? boing boing posted a link to the 50 greatest comedy sketches of all time from I'm slowly working my way through them and I wanted to share them with you. I'm not like my friend Terry, who doesn't attribute where he gets his stuff from..... (see? Half joke, half truth!) I love ya, big Lou!

Creative Commons License

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at Thursday, April 10, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Post a Comment