Essay on Humour

1889 Words Mar 1st, 2011 8 Pages
Humour is a complex issue that has been looked at through several disciplines including philosophy, and within anthropology. Debates ensue as to what humour is and if it can be defined. Were an extraterrestrial to visit earth and ask what the purpose of laughter was, we would provide an answer that suggests laughter often comes from something humourous. Humour often informs us of an individual’s own classifications of what causes laugh reflexes within themselves. What some people would consider being humourous, such as a misrepresentation of speech or misplacement of context others may not. Humour is not necessarily a consequence of verbal communication, it may stem from physical acts, objects or people that appear to act outside of
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During the 60’s the great American comedians were generally white males, whose humour was used for the ‘American people’, the ‘people’ were more important than the politicians. In Britain we have had an aristocracy and sense of class, Americans have never experienced this, jokes on ‘American people’ took a different stance. Jokes directed at Politicians were never made from comedians who lived pre- and post- war. Jokes that were made were directed to show a social and political distance. During the late 50’s and early 60’s new comedians appeared on the scene, these often came from social minorities such as Jews and Blacks. For a new era in humour these comedians set the pace for challenging civic decency, which the previous generation of whites had stuck to. Shocking forms of humour that appeared sexually explicit or attacking the government took a stand. The African- Americans generally had ‘blue’ (humour that is considered to be vulgar or off topic for the moral mainstream) humour directed at them, because this is what they wanted. This change was a benefit to society politically and industrially it dealt with personal politics and effectively ‘told it how it was’, by addressing the audiences who, to people such as Bob Hope, were grouped as the ‘other’ (minorities, or non-white, middle class Americans). It became possible to exist in a ‘free-talking’ and ‘free-thinking society’. By the 80’s comedians had taken it another level, many
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