Humor is both a form of entertainment and a means of coping with difficult or awkward situations and stressful events. Although it provokes laughter, humor can be serious business. From the witty to the absurd, humor can help with bonding, releasing tension, attracting a mate, putting rivals in their place, and keeping a child amused. A good sense of humor can even protect your heart health and give your immune system a boost.
But there is also a dark side to humor when it is hostile, antagonistic, degrading, or aggressive, or when it displays a sense of superiority. This is often the case with ethnic or racist jokes and sexual humor that is sometimes referred to as “locker room talk.” While it may be good to laugh at oneself from time to time, the hardships, shortcomings and imperfections of others have long been fodder for amateur and professional comedians alike.