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comment by StephenBuckley
StephenBuckley  ·  2803 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Kant on Jokes

    moral distancing that enables one to laugh at a cruel joke (and most, perhaps all, jokes are cruel, a point to which we might return later).
This really turned me off to the article- anyone who thinks most jokes are cruel may have thought a bit about jokes but they certainly are no comedian. It’s like a scientist who has seen a few chicken fights saying something like, “most, perhaps all, chickens are violent.” Anyone who’s spent some time living with jokes knows that most jokes are not cruel, and certainly not all jokes are cruel.

Both Kant and his modern interpreter may have thought a bit about the kind of jokes they might hear (knock-knock, party jokes) but most of the humor theory in this is laughably stunted. The graphing, the basic incongruity theory, and the sidelining of humor as a whole emphasizes how much of his time Kant spent not having fun.

If you're curious about humor, there are some good books on the subject, and some better interviews. I recommend anything with TJ Jagodowski or Dave Pasquesi (not purely comedic, but there you go), Truth in Comedy by Chandra Halpern & Del Close (and someone else), and True and False by David Mamet. They talk a lot less about comedy as though they understand the whole of it, but they would actually give an appreciation for the kind of thought and difficulty involved in humor. (Mamet's book is about acting but the majority of it applies to performing humor as well as anything else.)