What Are You Laughing At Analysis

Decent Essays
What makes something funny? This is a question that I recently set out to answer. For years people have argued that “if it's funny, anyone will laugh.” This misconception was address by Dan O’Shannon in the article “What Are You Laughing At?: A Comprehensive Guide to the Comedic Event.” In the article, he stresses two different key components of a joke, that do not even involve the actual content of the joke. These are called reception factors, and enhancers/inhibitors. In an attempt to identify these components, I showed a group of friends a comic and observed their reactions. The people I interviewed, including myself, have had a strong, positive history with the comic company. The people who make these types of comic, Cyanide and Happiness, first gained popularity on a mobile app, iFunny. As the company grew, they spread to Facebook and eventually started making YouTube videos. The individual comic produced by this company which I analyzed, depicts a scene where a guy is “hanging on by a thread” from a cliff edge, as a seemingly terrified bypasser runs towards the man. Like any sane person would, the guy asks if the pedestrian could “give him a hand.” The pedestrian says “of course!” and surprisingly claps instead of helping the guy in trouble. The next picture box depicts the bypasser saying “Wait,…show more content…
Think of these as the reasons a joke is or is not funny. In this case, I could not identify any inhibitors that would keep the people I interviewed or myself from thinking the comic was funny. What I did find though, are many enhancers that I believe played a part in my groups positive reaction to the comic. The main one being comedic relief. This could be experienced when the pedestrian clapped instead of helping the man who was hanging off of the cliff. This situation could also be placed in the category disappointed, the theory that we laugh at the
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