Thursday, May 13, 2010

How Serious is Comedy?

I've touched on the idea that comedy can be very serious when I looked at Steve Martin's ideas about stand up comedy. Comedy is much more serious than that though.

After all we're not even sure why we have a sense of humour, how it works, or exactly why things are funny. The paper Humour Research: State of the Art (2002) (pdf) is a scholarly overview of humour research. But even that can only tell you what humour is.

What about how humour should be applied? When is it appropriate? When should it be avoided? How much is too much?

Never fear... there are pointers online to help. It turns out that Microsoft (yes... Microsoft...) can help. Now Microsoft it not a company known for it's innate sense of fun or humour though I'll give them some credit for Microsoft Bob. So you wouldn't suspect Microsoft as having any useful information about humour would you?

Microsoft has a section of their website dedicated to education. There are teaching plans, lesson plans and lots of resources. Of course there are endless links to Microsoft products and information on how to buy them and use them in educational settings. I'm not holding that against them, Microsoft is a for profit enterprise after all.

What I can hold against them is an article under the category of Educational Competencies. Yes... Microsoft has an incredibly bland, boring, and humourless article on Humor. Did you know there are various proficiency levels in humour?

When I read the article on humor as a competency I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Apparently I'm unaware of my own proficiency level in several competencies. Maybe I should check if I can become a  certified Microsoft Humor Professional....

1 comment:

Janet said...

Can you specialize in sarcasm, or puns? or is it just general humour studies?