Dad jokes are terrible, and most Dads tell them. You know the kind of things, those simple and usually pun based jokes that Dads relentlessly repeat throughout the upbringing of their children and beyond. It's actually the main reason I haven't had children is that I am worried that if I do my jokes will get worse.
Actually, as adults Dad jokes are terrible, but I believe they serve a purpose for children. When children are growing up and learning about the world, they inevitably learn humour. Younger children respond to silly sounds, expressive faces, and adults seem to instinctively make funny sounds and pull faces. They learn to discern these silly sounds and faces from normal sounds and faces, so they start to learn the difference between serious and not serious.
Then once the children have learned a bit of language they start to learn that things sound alike but mean different things, double meanings. At this point Dad jokes are very funny to the children, and the amount of repetition that is involved doesn't wear thin for some time. They love the surprise that they are assuming that the little joke story is going one way, then because of the double meaning of a word or two, it goes somewhere else they didn't expect. Once the children grow up a bit more and start to appreciate more complex humour such as more advanced wordplay, sarcasm, and irony, the Dad jokes aren't challenging anymore and get embarrassing.
But the jokes did serve a purpose, they were a key part of helping the children along with their development of understanding of humour. And I believe that learning humour is a key skill in life, not only for the obvious social reasons such as being able to relate with people and communicate better, but also because humour is about seeing things differently from how they seem. The ability to see things differently is key to being able to notice potential problems before they occur, and creatively come up with solutions.
So next time your children groan about your Dad jokes, point them to this article and say "I'm doing this for your own good, now laugh."
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I have long been a fan of stand-up comedy and have always wondered what makes comedy funny. Lately I have noticed a number of metaphor that are used in the comedy industry, and in day to day conversation when people talk about comedy.
The main thing I have noticed that many metaphor in comedy are related to some kind of force. The force is created by the comedian, then applied to the audience. The force causes the audience to have an involuntary reaction, and does damage to them. The audience know this and volunteer to be broken. Let's look at this further.
Let's start with the comedian. If the comedy is funny, then metaphor used toward comedians tend to be around the delivery of the force.
When it comes to the audience, the metaphor tend to be around having force applied to them, causing involuntary reactions and having damage inflicted.
This got me thinking. If comedy is about audience members going in and voluntarily offering to be broken by the comedian, and the comedian applying a force to do the breaking, what actually is it that's going on? What is the force? And what is the force actually breaking?
My take on it is that the audience of a comedy show go along as an escape from the day to day reality of their lives. They take along their everyday sensibilities, beliefs, and perceptions, and in the safety of the comedy show they offer them up to be broken. The comedian has an understanding of the common perceptions that the audience want to have broken, and through their unique viewpoints and attitudes, they apply the appropriate force of words to challenge and break such perceptions.
If the comedian tries to break perceptions that the audience doesn't have, the comedy doesn't work. If the comedian chooses perceptions that the audience has, but doesn't apply the appropriate force to break them, the comedy doesn't work. When comedy doesn't work, the audience often get disappointed or angry that their perceptions are left intact. They say that the comedian "died out there". But if the comedian chooses appropriate perceptions, and applies the appropriate amount of force, the audience enjoy having their perceptions broken and have the involuntary reaction of laughing. The comedian "killed".
So it's no wonder people revere successful comedians, and that the thought of being a stand-up comedian scares the bejesus out of most people. Imagine it being your job to put yourself in a position where you either kill or get killed, all for the amusement of others! To most people that sounds crazy, but for the comedian it's part of the fun of it.
For more articles about comedy and metaphor, click here www.richardlindesay.com/home/category/metaphor.