So bad it’s good

      1 Comment on So bad it’s good

In life, there are good jokes. Then, there’s bad jokes. Then, there are very bad jokes.

And finally, you have puns.

I find the entire concept of puns to be extremely polarizing. Let’s face it, they aren’t funny. They are pretty much the lowest form of humor, which is basically exploiting the flaws in our language to say the wrong words on purpose while still being close enough in either spelling or pronunciation for the original sentence to be understood. Then if those “wrong words” are somehow related to the discussion or situation, it counts as humor.

Many people really hate puns, or at least hate them when someone else tells them. Many of those people also like to make one every now and then. I’m one of the people who love hearing and saying puns, but sometimes it feels like people like me are very rare.

Even being a fan, I have no idea why I like puns so much. I’m fully aware of the ridiculousness of them, and how they definitely aren’t high quality humor.

It seems like Randall Munroe is similar, while being perfectly aware that we live in a “puns are horrible” world, since many of his comics are about a character making elaborate puns and suffering the wrath of his peers.

Credit: xkcd

Credit: xkcd

Credit: xkcd

I’ve been wondering exactly why this form of obviously bad humor is so funny to certain people, and then, why not to the majority?

For a long time I simply assumed it was some sort of jealousy, and that people who sucked at making puns subconsciously started to hate them. But recently, I realised that one guy that I know really loves them, but I’ve never heard him make one at all. This makes my hypothesis a lot less likely.

So… what exactly is the deciding factor that puts you in the “love puns” or “hate puns” category?

Interesting article:

A couple terrible puns you might actually like:

  • Kingfisher12

    I like puns just fine. The better question is why do some people find puns funny, while others find them annoying.

    My favorite overall theory on humor relies on the concept of ‘benign violation’ (referenced in the article). We laugh when presented with contradicting stimuli that tells us that something is wrong, and that everything is okay. The most elementary form of humor – laughing at being tickled, is our response to stimulus telling us we’re being attacked, combined with an equally powerful stimulus telling us we’re not. The stress response and relax response are so close together that we laugh involuntarily.

    Puns are a violation against language, by using a word in a way that is subtly “wrong”.

    People who don’t think puns are funny probably don’t register the violation. People who hate puns probably see the violation, but don’t see it as benign. If you get annoyed at people using language incorrectly, or when you hear a word being mispronounced, you probably hate puns.

    It is also possible to hate puns, and find them funny, just as people can laugh at being tickled even as they are not enjoying the experience.