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Relationships, Nonromantic

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

Several humor theorists have taught us that humor is fundamentally a social experience. For one, we laugh much more when we are surrounded by other people than when we are alone. Indeed, laughter is contagious, and it has even been proven to work as a form of therapy for people who are depressed or just feel sad. Jokes are meant to be shared with others, and comedians know that when the audience is not being amused, the humor is probably not very funny. Above all, humor can greatly reduce the tension among people and enable individuals who are different from each other to get along and even live together in harmony.

In his famous essay titled In Praise of Folly, Desiderius Erasmus (1509/1941) eloquently captures the ...

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