The Paradox of Children’s Humor

So my wife says, “oh, I saw a funny shirt today.” My wife loves to share funny things she heard or saw. The shirt said “I’m right 93% of the time and who cares about the other 4%”

My kindergartener starts to laugh and then says, “Hey, I know a funny shirt too.” So she tells us about a shirt that we already bought for our son months ago that has a picture of a rock and a ruler. The Ruler is saying “You Rock!” and the Rock is saying “You Rule!”

After repeating it to us, she then proceeds to say about 10 times in a row. “Get it? The Rock is saying you rule to the ruler and the ruler is saying you rock to the rock. Get it?”

We all bust up laughing and she is happy. But the thing is that it’s not funny because of the “funny once” rule. You can’t actually repeat a funny joke multiple times and expect to get the same laugh each time. So why are we laughing? It’s real laughter too.

Well, of course, it’s because our daughter is hilarious precisely because she doesn’t “get it” that she isn’t funny. Thereby making her funny. So she’s funny because she’s not funny. It makes no sense, so of course it makes perfect sense.

2 thoughts on “The Paradox of Children’s Humor

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention » The Paradox of Children’s Humor The Millennial Star -- Topsy.com

  2. Cute post Bruce. My older boys were big comedians when they were about 4-6 years of age. They would make up a joke and tell it for weeks over and over and over again. I remember one that was a variation of the chicken crossing the road. They would laugh so hard, that Mike and I would laugh. They are adults now, and they amuse themselves reciting funny lines from movies and TV.

    It is a wonderful thing your family has sunny personalities and can laugh. A sense of humor is balm for the soul that helps us to endure tough times.

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