All About Humor

Humor is serious business. Sure, there's simple comedy like a pie in the face or an Adam Sandler movie, but a lot of jokes display real intellect, and despite much reflection and experimentation—both in labs and on stages—no one has yet discovered a unified theory of hilarity. Humor can be used for bonding, releasing tension, attracting a mate, putting a rival in his place, or entertaining a child. It has as many functions and styles as there are variations on the light bulb joke. 

Recent Posts on Humor

All Electronic Devices Should Be Off the Thanksgiving Table

These are kids for whom it is not unusual to make a quick leap from the first awakening of sexual awareness to the first consummation of sexual experience. They haven’t had to wait for anything else--why wait for that?

Problems Monitoring Terrorists/Muslims

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 23, 2015 Fighting Fear
Mr. Trump and Doctor Carson have suggested monitoring Muslims by staking out mosques and following anyone who wears a turban. This will not work. Muslims do not wear turbans.

The Danger of Carbs

If the only thing you fit into from high school is your high school earrings, you will want to read tips on how to not overeat during the holidays.

How to Survive the Paris Terrorist Attack

After happened in Paris, I drank a half bottle of wine, ate carbs, and didn’t want to come out of bed. But, in an ordinary day, an act of kindness changed everything. Here is my very personal blog about how terrorism affects us and the choices we can make not to sink into a depression.

Can You Teach Someone to Be Funny?

By Jen Kim on November 16, 2015 Valley Girl With a Brain
A humor expert explains how almost anyone can make a good joke.

In Wake of French Terror, Maybe Pastafarians Aren't So Crazy

By David Niose on November 15, 2015 Our Humanity, Naturally
As the world mourns the tragedy in Paris, the relevance and importance of religious criticism become more apparent.

Do You Like Reading Poetry and Getting Caught in the Rain?

By Temma Ehrenfeld on November 12, 2015 Open Gently
Metaphorical thinking and sarcasm can be good for you.

Is Ben Carson Too Skeptical?

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 10, 2015 Fighting Fear
Although it is clear to Ben Carson that Joseph and his Egyptian friends put up the pyramids to store grain for the coming seven lean years, someone erred since the pyramids are made of solid rock. Dr. Carson dismisses the involvement of aliens; but is he too quick to come to judgement?

Why Is Cat Humor so Appealing?

By Mark Peters on November 10, 2015 Laughing Stock
I talk to Angie Bailey about what makes cat humor funny.

Butts, But, and Buttes: The Bottom Line

By Vance Z. Johnson M.D. on November 09, 2015 What Hurts?
Productivity, efficiency, and goals are not words that resonate with our biologic imperative. But butt, does.

Gifted Career Thriving: Personality Traits

What if your already identified gifts of outstanding intelligence and/or creativity could be combined with powerful and positive personality traits that would allow you to soar?

Say No in the Name of Love

Setting boundaries is an art. But it can sometimes be difficult, especially when it comes to setting boundaries with needy people or full-blown narcissists. Here are six ways to stop needy people.

The Power of Creative Juxtaposition and the Threat of Clowns

By Mark Peters on November 05, 2015 Laughing Stock
I talk to Chuck Sambuchino about humor and the imminent danger of clowns.

Jokes Endangered

By Scott G. Eberle Ph.D. on November 02, 2015 Play in Mind
Many years ago, with a minivan load of restive kids aboard who needed distracting, I asked them all to tell a joke. In the midst of the silence, my young daughter piped up with a knock-knock riddle I’d made up: “Knock, knock!” she said. “Who’s there?” the rest of them replied, “Margaret Thatcher!” she said. “Margaret Thatcher who?” they wanted to know.

Why Do We Think it's Okay to Make Fun of Overweight People?

Despite the greater sensitivity in today’s society to humor that disparages someone on the basis of physical characteristics, so-called “fat people” are still fair game when it comes to jokes. Whatever your body size, and whether or not you’ve been a target, the plight of the overweight should be a problem that concerns us all.

Why Halloween Can Bring Out The Best In Us

Halloween is all about trusting those you don’t know well, whether you are knocking on their doors or opening your own to them. How remarkable in today's world.

Wanted: A Home

By Frances Kuffel on October 14, 2015 What Fat Women Want
A few remarks against rental housing regulations.

What's your Likability Quotient?

You'll get a lot further in life if you'll likable.

The Door in Trump's Wall

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on October 02, 2015 Fighting Fear
Mr. Trump has suggested a literal wall separating Mexico from Texas. He went on to suggest a "beautiful door" in the wall. An examination of that suggestion.

Yogi Berra’s Mis-Quotes: Why They’re So Comically Endearing

On the advent of Yogi Berras’ passing this week at the age of 90, it seemed fitting for me to pay tribute to him here. But not so much for his being a sterling Hall of Fame catcher who helped lead his beloved Yankees to ten World Series victories, as for his wacky but so “winning” malapropisms—which over the years have delighted millions. . . .

What I Learned from Baseball and Yogi Berra

By Rita Watson MPH on September 23, 2015 With Love and Gratitude
Despite his 14 year feud with George Steinbrenner, Yogi Berra is remembered as a man who embraced friendship and compassion for his teammates.

What Does It Mean When We Stick Our Tongues Out?

Questions relating to sticking out one's tongue can be surprisingly complicated. For its meaning in babies and children may be quite different from adults doing the same thing. And there are so many nuances to it: Is the tongue sticking straight out? to the left? right? hanging down? curled? And what’s the accompanying facial expression and context in which it occurs? ...

Do You Lie About Your Age?

When I was a teenager I wanted to be thought of as older. Older girls seemed sophisticated, hip, and independent. Now that I am ACTUALLY older, it’s younger women who seem sophisticated, hip, and independent. Go figure.

The Right to Bear Arms in the Operating Room

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on September 21, 2015 Fighting Fear
The right to bear arms is being asserted in more and more places--churches, schools, etc. There are problems, however, in bearing arms in the operating room. The reasons are given here

Are You a Man or a Mouse?

“Are you a man or a mouse?” This exhortation has been a way that men have encouraged other men, especially younger ones, to be brave, not to run away but rather to take things up to the next level. However, considering what has happened to men these days, I think the expression can be considered in a whole new way. Especially because mice are really pretty brave.

The Psychology Of Why Being Funny When Flirting is Vital

Bale, Morrison and Caryl in their study of chat-up lines wondered why men persisted in using so many ‘chat-up’ approaches that were rated as unpopular with so many women – such as boorish jokes, empty compliments, and sexually loaded remarks. They wondered if these strategies were never intended to impress a woman, but merely winnow out which possible ‘targets’ were...

Good, Better and Best Advice for Life After 50

When you tell yourself that your best days are behind are, you pretty much guarantee that they are. Stop worrying about what will happen in ten years because life in ten years won’t be anything like what you’re imaging now.

Are Dogs or Cats More Likely to Make Us Laugh?

People who own pets laugh more frequently than people who do not, but dog owners and those who own cats and dogs, laugh more than those who just own cats. And it is when our pet fails at something or does something unexpected that we are most likely to laugh.

Mean vs. Kind Humor

By Rebecca Coffey on September 08, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Are “affiliative” and “self-enhancing” forms of humor healthier than “aggressive” and “self-defeating” forms?

Your Over-Parenting Can Damage Your Child's Education

Teachers have gone from mentoring students to monitoring students. They're urged to report accounts of unblemished success to the parents. That's not an education.