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What Makes People Laugh?

Updated on March 15, 2012

Understanding Comedy

If you are interested in pursuing a comedy career, such as being a stand up comedian like Andy Williams, it is essential that you learn what makes people laugh. According to theorists and medical professionals, such as those that specialize in biology, psychiatry and psychology, laughter is considered to be an important part of what is referred to as the "Human Vocabulary".

This means that regardless of a person's ethnic background, their socioeconomic status, or their location in the world, they are born with the ability to engage in laughter. Research has established that laughter is an activity that provides a wealth of insight into the unconscious mind. It is triggered by numerous thoughts, beliefs and sensations.

If you want to pursue a comedy career, it is crucial to learn how to write comedy and as much as you are possibly able to regarding laughter. Throughout this guide, you will be introduced to several facts about laughter.


What is Laughter?

In order to succeed at comedy, you must not only understand what makes people laugh, but you must also have a solid understanding of laughter, in general. According to studies conducted on this human expression, laughter is typically described as a reaction towards certain types of stimuli that an individual is introduced to, subjected to, or personally experiences.

In most instances, laughter is considered to be a visual or outward expression associated with joy, happiness, acceptance, relief or even embarrassment. Specialists that work in Neurophysiology have concluded that laughter is seemingly activated by a part of the brain identified as the "Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex". When this section of the brain becomes active, endorphins are produced.

In addition to producing endorphins, laughter also results in the following:

Individuals that engage in laughter have lower levels of stress hormones.

Examples of these hormones include epinephrine, as well as cortisol.

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Great Joke Books To Make You Laugh On Amazon

Audience Laughing
Audience Laughing

The endorphins that are released may assist in alleviating pain throughout the body.

The immune system becomes stronger because laughter assists in creating the antibody cells that assist in strengthening the health of the T-cells.

Based on the information contained here, we can conclude that laughter makes people feel good - inside and out. Laughter is a positive experience that stems from positive stimuli. There are numerous health benefits associated with laughter. If you have an interest in a comedy profession, such as stand up comedy, it is important to understand that benefits of laughter and the feelings that it induces.

By doing so, you will have a higher interest in learning what makes people laugh and will want to take strides to ensure that you are capable of producing laughter in others. Comedy is all about helping others enjoy themselves.

YouTube - Voted One Of The Funniest Videos On YouTube

Styles of Humor

If you have an interest in specializing in comedy, it is imperative that you learn about what those in stand up comedy refer to as the “Humor Spectrum”. By knowing what styles of humor are available, you will have a more detailed understanding of what makes people laugh. The following represents the most common humor styles:

Stand Up Comedy
Stand Up Comedy

The first type of humor takes life and makes it funny. It could be a normal situation or event. You would simply take it and turn it into a joke. Many refer to this as the “Laugh at Life” humor style. If you want to succeed at humor, you should work on your ability to find the humor in typical life situations and express that humor to others.

The next humor style is the sarcastic type. This type of humor involves being a bit dark, sharp and even a little on the biting side. When watching those in stand up comedy that specialize in sarcasm, you will find that their expressions, their words and the way that they present themselves make the sarcasm extremely funny. For some, sarcastic comedy is simple. For others, it takes practice.

The third most popular type of humor is pointing fun at the expense of others. You should be especially cautious when doing this and make it general, unless you have previous consent from the individual that you will be poking fun at.

Comedy Poll - What Makes You Laugh?

As we have researched in this Lens many different things make us laugh and there are many reasons why we laugh.

But not everyone laughs at the same thing.

What Makes You Laugh?

See results
Writing Comedy
Writing Comedy

A Career In Comedy

If you want to pursue a comedy career, it is important that you know what makes people laugh. It is more than just telling a joke or saying something witty. You must understand the psychology of laughter and the types of humor that you may engage in in order to appeal to others.

While the information contained in this comedy guide will not make you a professional stand up comedy expert overnight, it will certainly assist in pushing you in the right direction! Laughter is more than just a little fun to those in a comedy profession. It is a way of life.

Tell Me What Makes You Laugh.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Be funny

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I listen to stand-up comedy at work. Some of it is a bit ruse or dark, but there are a lot of really funny comedians out there who don't get any real media coverage.

    • profile image

      andrzejisosna 5 years ago

      Great fun lots of giggles here!!

    • Anime-e profile image

      Anime-e 5 years ago

      I love to make some friends laugh once in a while!