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Feb 11, 2019 20:50:46

8 Laghter Triggers

by @hiro | 564 words | 23🔥 | 256💌


Current day streak: 23🔥
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I have been made a joke all the time by my friends and colleagues. I tend to take what they said literally, and easily tricked. On the other hand, I have a respect to those who can make a joke to ease the atmosphere in a team even if you are under stressful situation. So I am not a congenital joker but would like to improve it. 

I assume those native jokers grows up in such an environment where you are trained and had repeatedly-embeded lessens in their conversastions in their life. But I was not. So I need finicky steps to get better. 

Today I will break down what makes people laughed. Here is a good material for me: laughter-triggers.pdf from www.standupcomedyclinic.com

There are 8 elements to trigger laghter:

  • Surprise
  • Embarrassment
  • Recognition
  • Incongruity
  • Release
  • Superiority
  • Ambivalence
  • Configurational


Suprise is about tricking people to think of something in a certain way, and at the end, it will be flipped in an unexpected way. It is like a magic where the audience was distracted or guided in one hand while a magician is doing something in behind and thne make something surprise at the end as the audience did not expect.  


We tend to langh at ourselves to disguise our embarrassment. For example, if you said to your friend confidently "The origin of Pizza is US!!", and by looking at Wiki together, it turned out that you are wrong. Then you might grin to release your embarrased emotion. 

In addition, when you see this embarrassment in others and had similar situation before, people also tend to laugh since they can understand and feel sympathy for what is going in their mind. 

Here is a example of type of embarrasment:

  • Personal weakness impacting on our dignity
  • Failures
  • Private concerns
  • Sexual situations

To identify your weakness that can be used for your joke, the following could be good start: clumsiness, difficulty in communicating with the opposite sex, weak, making a mistake, broke, procrastinate, slob, not punctual, overwight, skinny, addictive, bad grade etc.


The definition of incongruity is when things don't match as they are expected to

To create incongruity, we need to mislead the hearer or audience to think in a certain way. Then the setting will be flipped. One example from Groucho Marx is 

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know"

I did not get this joke for a quite long time. Let me explain it line by line. 

The first sentence is setting up the theme where the main character is. With the combination of "morning" and 'in my pajamas', people may think he is in a bed and wearing a pajamas, and this elephant is about the character printed in a pajamas. 

The next sentence turn the situation up side down. People normally do not imagine the elephants wearing a pajama but "how he got into my pajamas" indicates that the elephant was actually wearing the pajamas. This is the incongruity since the combination of elephan and pajama is unexpected match. 

According to Victor Raskin, one of the typical incongruity combination is: 

  • good and bad
  • dead and alive
  • vulgar and non-vulgar
  • rich and poor
  • high and low


Grammarly: 0

Word of the day: finicky

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