On Saturday, I attended the play “The Comedy Company” after three people told me how good it was. With a title like that, I fully expected 90 minutes of light-hearted/full-belly laughter and escape.
Imagine my surprise when the curtains were raised on a World War I setting.
“The Comedy Company” is based on the first comedy troupe created in hopes of lifting the spirits of those fighting on the front lines. Both the need for humour and the horrors of war were on stage.
I thought about the importance of humour, especially during difficult times (at a recent class, as a get-to-know-you exercise, we were each to share one strategy for surviving parenting/marriage/life in general. My contribution: have a sense of humour).
But what if you don’t have a sense of humour, as people on the autism spectrum were falsely labelled, or a different sense of humour than most? Can a sense of humour be learned or developed?
Let’s find out!
There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
Most comedy is based on getting a laugh at somebody else's expense. And I find that that's just a form of bullying in a major way. So I want to be an example that you can be funny and be kind, and make people laugh without hurting somebody else's feelings.
I read opinions that humour is learned, and opinions that humour is inborn. I’m of the opinion that we are all born with different levels of appreciation for humour in general and we each have an affinity for specific types of humour. . .
. . . And I saw lists that divided humour into 4-20 types (and lists for almost every number in between).
. . . And I read how people on the autism spectrum have a different sense of humour than neurotypicals.
All interesting tidbits but here, we are practical: how to aid someone else in developing a sense of humour or to develop it within yourself.
I found both the 4-types- and the 20-types of humour lists helpful when looking at my sense of humour and the sense of humour of those around me. The first one (4-types of humour), I used as a general guideline I could keep in mind. The second one (the 20-types) was useful when I was more analytical and wanted a more focused understanding of mine or another person’s sense of humour. Interestingly, puns were not on the 20-types list, yet that was a type of humour that those on the spectrum often mentioned enjoying.
Of course, those on the spectrum are individuals and it would be absurd to categorize only specific types of humour as applicable to those on the spectrum, there did seem to be a few consistencies.
First, it was often mentioned humour that contained some type of aggression or hurtfulness, such as putdowns, even if witty, sarcasm and slapstick, was not funny. Perhaps that’s because the sting of being the brunt of such ‘humour’ had been personally felt.
Second, wordplays and puns were often ranked high, perhaps because of the literal thinking patterns of many people on the spectrum.
Finally, many also mentioned finding humour in the absurd or ridiculous. I wondered if those people had a keen sense of visualization. For people who think in pictures, clearly visualizing such a scene would be an asset.
We each have our strengths and weaknesses. Usually, a few strengths and many weaknesses. My opinion is unless a weakness is detrimental to our life, we should work on our strengths. In this case, if there is no sense of humour, a bit would make life easier. If you already have a keen sense of humour, fine tuning it might also be an enjoyable way to improve not only your life, but those who spend time with you.
Discussing what we find funny and why, can help us build on what we have. It can also help us focus where to look when we need a laughter-boost.
If you’ve had a day of laughter or of trying to develop your sense of humour, it could be tiring. Try one of our cozy 10 lb weighted blankets for a comfy, solid, restful sleep.
Have a laughter-filled week.
P.S. For those days when it doesn’t feel like there is anything funny in your life, be grateful that our wars are personal or societal ones. We have no critical wars in any of the Americas. I’m sensitive to the struggles of individuals and of specific communities, and I’m also grateful that I needed to watch a play to be reminded of the horrors of war.
At the very beginning of the play, words were flashed on stage about the number killed as pertained to the play. It was something like 1,089 went to war, 39 returned. I may have the exact numbers wrong but you get the idea. The realities of war are, thankfully, unfathomable to me.
Websites used for this article:
direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=10786791&asa=Y&AN=55714962&h=%2brn3NkXst7NfASJ3hYw6Em4WImKLchwrGf2LzljcM5ONBFE6LLMEf4%2b72Aw8w%2fQZVxYUOcCLyUSGp%2ffLIF7XVQ%3d%3d&crl=c&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d10786791%26asa%3dY%26AN%3d55714962 Review of the therapeutic value of laughter.
https://www.cfr.org/interactives/global-conflict-tracker#!/global-conflict-tracker Active wars at present