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Humor Theories

  • By: Victor Raskin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Humor theories are the various theories that scholars have come up with to explain, recognize, use, and even produce humor, usually but not necessarily in the form of short verbal jokes, created on the fly as appropriate to the situation (situational jokes) or reproduced from memory though not necessarily recited word for word (canned jokes). However, humor can exist in longer texts, including humorous plays (comedies), humorous novels, and, perhaps most widespread, humorous short stories, for instance, by O. Henry or Anton Chekhov.

As in other areas of life or research, the term theory can be used loosely as an explanation of any phenomenon, without any serious claims of universality. Thus, one can say, I have a theory why Nicole left Jason, meaning that one may ...

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