Humor Me

Let’s start off this post by asking ourselves, what exactly is humor? Well, by definition, it is the quality of being amusing or comic. When people find something amusing, they laugh, and as mentioned in a previous post, laughter has many emotional/physical benefits. However, humor is by far not linear, what may be funny to one person, may not be the same case for another. Sure humor can be used to lighten the mood, cheer someone up, but if it is not used correctly, it can have the opposite effect. If a person is incorporating humor into a situation, it is important for them to take three things into consideration; context, timing, and place. All three things are crucial ingredients in making a humorous situation be pleasant. If you leave one out, you run the risk of creating a recipe for disaster.
The context of the joke, is considering the meaning behind it; it may not be offensive to you, but could it be to someone else? You may not intend for your joke to be offensive, but chances are if you are laughing at someone verses with them, then it is not funny. The purpose of jokes are to evoke humor, not humiliation and dejection. For example, I attended a national conference for my medical condition where they had a session about humor. During that session, we laughed together, in unity, to jokes. Going into the session, everyone knew what to expect, it was a place where jokes were being made to make light of a heavy situation. Therefore, if people could not handle that, they could choose not to participate. Another example, is Danielle, a comic, who is wheelchair bound, but is most recognized as being the Price Is Right contestant earlier last year. Danielle was the recipient of a treadmill and hot tub on the show. She took the prizes with such grace by making the best out of a potential embarrassing situation. Danielle chose to create humorous tweets to make light of what had happened. Again, humor is positive when you are laughing with someone, and not at them. There is always a right place, and a right time for everything. As seen in these two examples, know who your audience is, and act accordingly.
One example where context, timing, and place was not taken into consideration was on the online platform, The Mighty. For those of you who don’t know, it is a website geared towards issues impacting those with disabilities. An autistic mother wrote an article regarding her autistic child. The mother tried to incorporate humor into her thoughts, by creating a game called, Introducing: Meltdown Bingo. The bingo squares represented consequences of an autism meltdown, and if you check five boxes, then you have “bingo.” It supposed to be humorous, and the author may have not meant any harm, but what gave the message that it was ok to do that? The Mighty is not known as a comedic outlet but rather a place where some go for guidance. The mother may have been laughing at herself, but it was taken differently because no one else found it humorous. Wrong time, and wrong place. Disability or not, no matter who is telling the joke, be mindful of others. If you take anything away from this post, just remember the three most important ingredients when incorporating humor; context, timing, and place. If you don’t, as seen with The Mighty, it is a true recipe for disaster.

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