Styles of Humor

Based on the many events and happenings of the world, or the peculiar habits of people, the various kinds of comedy genres come to fore.

Humor is always around us. It’s an omnipresent entity which is scratching on the surface, until someone digs just a little bit in order to let it burst out. While the way everyone laughs at something humorous is pretty much the same, the humor itself may not always be the same. In fact, the many events and happenings of the world, or the peculiar habits of people, help the various kinds of comedy genres to come to the fore. Of late, there has been a persistent rise and recognition of the various styles of comedy, which are as follows:

Anecdotal: As its name suggests, this genre of comedy is based on funny anecdotes, stories or life experiences of a person. A person usually performs anecdotal humor by recounting these experiences to a set of his relatives, friends, etc.

Blue: This is also known as off-color humor. It’s not always appreciable by everyone, as it may comprise of some crude remarks or sexual innuendos. So it’s advisable to practice this sort of humor in a confined group of known friends or relatives, etc.

Burlesque: This sort of humor derives its name from burlesque shows or the famous Moulin rouge shows. It involves exaggerated characterization or an overt display that leads to comedy or comical situations. 

Dark/Gallows/Morbid: This is a very different and contrasting type of humor, where some people might not even find a reason for laughing at it. It usually deals in depressing and grim situations such as a war, or death, etc.

Deadpan/Dry: Deadpan humor is one kind of humor that can make people laugh like crazy. The trick is to master the subtle art involved in it. In this humor, the person that’s telling the joke has to have a poker face, he/she should be absolutely expressionless. This is known as a deadpan expression. Combined with a worthy joke, this kind of humor is sure to have one’s audiences in splits.

Droll: This term originates from Dutch language and is used to denote the style of humor where eccentricity is involved. It is the kind where a person is being witty and spontaneous. It’s not rehearsed, but surely is entertaining.

Epigrammatic: This is a kind of humor that is made up by witty sayings such as “Too many people run out of ideas long before they run out of words.” Benjamin Franklin and Oscar Wilde are among the famous exponents of epigrammatic style of humor.

Farcical: This is the type of comedy that is based on situations that go horribly wrong or are completely twisted, in terms of the end result. It’s based on the premise that a situation is expected to shape up in one way, but turns out to unfold in a completely contrasting manner. Some may not find this humorous at all, but for some who like a twist or two in the tale, this style is enjoyable.

High/highbrow: This is the kind of humor that one would find in social gatherings or dinners or banquets, etc. It is specifically aimed at being sophisticated, which is why it’s regularly based on social cultures and notions. However, bringing religion and other associated delicate social stuff into it may not earn the deserved guffaws.

Hyperbolic: Hyperbolic humor is purely imaginative. It has no basis in truth or reason, as it is always an exaggeration of something. Even if someone performing hyperbolic humor proclaims it to be true, you have no sane reason to believe so.

Ironic: The humor emerging out of general irony or ironical situations of life is known as ironic humor. It happens where a thing goes exactly in opposite direction of its intended meaning. It’s also in a way farcical, but the irony is what makes it original and funny.

Juvenile/sophomoric: As the name suggests, juvenile humor is mostly for kids or early teens. It involves silly pranks and banter that college kids pull on each other for fun. This kind of humor may work with some adults, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see some adult faces frowning at such comedy.

Mordant: This is a very sharp sense of humor. It’s almost akin to disrespecting a person or a thing, but then again, it may also earn the most laughs from an audience. The reason why it’s sharp is because it’s harsh, and that’s saying the least about it.

Parodic: In simple words, parodic humor is equal to spoofing or mocking a person or a thing. For instance, the Scary Movie is a parody on various other horror movies. The comical re-imagination of a thing that’s famous and well known is what makes this genre of humor funny.

Satirical: This is a kind of humor that sides with humanism or the cause of the common man. Satirical comedy is understood to be brave, because it usually takes on political systems, governments, politicians, the state of the country, etc. While some may enjoy this kind of humor, some people may come across it just as an opinion on a person or a thing. So, this is yet another tricky style of humor.

Screwball: This humor style is very identical to the farcical style of humor. The only subtle difference is that the responsive happenings after a funny situation has concluded, turns out to be yet another comical situation. At times the response is more hilarious than its preceding situation. It’s a difficult style of humor to perfect, but again, if it’s mastered, this humor can be rip-roaring.

Self-deprecating: This is a kind of humor that comes straight from a comedian’s heart. This is because while doing it, a comedian has to keep aside his sense of pride and self-worth. The comedian ridicules himself and exhibits the clumsy side of his personality, so that the people can laugh on it. It involves making silly follies and performing the stupidest of things possible. Those who value qualities like pride and self respect may find this kind of humor to be more heartening than funny.

Situational: The name says it all. The comedy in this style of humor purely arises out of the various odd situations. Television shows such as Friends, How I Met Your Mother, etc., are based on this kind of humor, and are hence called as sitcoms (Situational comedies).

Slapstick: The slapstick comedy involves depiction of slight bodily harm to invoke laughter from an audience. The performers might hit each other or slap each other, so that it appears funny according to the situation being presented. However, many people do not enjoy this kind of humor, as it’s over done throughout the years and probably has nothing new to offer. While on the other hand, there are also a large number of people that enjoy this style and readily commit their patronage to it. So, this kind of humor too is tricky and dependant on the ability of the performers.

Stand-up: This is a kind of comedy that is pretty simple and easy going. It can also have more than one styles of humor being performed by the comedian. Generally, a stand-up comedy act is where a performer entertains an audience by telling his funny experiences, some jokes, etc. However, of late stand-up comedy is also being presented as an enactment of funny situations being performed by two or more comedians. Stand-up comedians are usually known for their spontaneous wit and their wise-cracks. Famous stand-up comedians include Queen Latifah, Ellen DeGeneres, etc.

Apart from the above different styles of humor, there can also be various kinds of humor that people present and enjoy. Like any other thing, humor is also subjected to change, and change is what it does constantly. With the technological innovations and superior connectivity that we experience today, sharing humor has become more than easy. Which is why there is always some new kind of humor evolving and becoming a fad.

In conclusion, the following few lines best describe the essence of laughter in our lives:

What’s life without laughter, some fun and some banter;

One has to walk, jog and scamper;

Firmly hold on to his galloping rafter;

Little does he know;

About how far he would go;

He yearns for another mile;

Up the mighty river Nile;

But how can his journey ever be worthwhile;

When he simply missed out on sparing a smile.

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