On Humour (Thinking in Action)

August 31, 2019 - Comment

Does humour make us human, or do the cats and dogs laugh along with us? On Humour is a fascinating, beautifully written and funny book on what humour can tell us about being human. Simon Critchley skilfully probes some of the most perennial but least understood aspects of humour, such as our tendency to laugh

Does humour make us human, or do the cats and dogs laugh along with us? On Humour is a fascinating, beautifully written and funny book on what humour can tell us about being human. Simon Critchley skilfully probes some of the most perennial but least understood aspects of humour, such as our tendency to laugh at animals and our bodies, why we mock death with comedy and why we think it’s funny when people act like machines. He also looks at the darker side of humour, as rife in sexism and racism and argues that it is important for reminding us of people we would rather not be.

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Comments

Anonymous says:

Great place to start Great place to start. I’ve used this as a textbook for my Comedy Theory course for many years, and I recommend it to anyone trying to understand why people laugh. (Please take with a grain of salt the one-star review from Christopher Gontar. If you google his name, he’s left a one-star review for literally every comedy theory book. Not sure why!)

Anonymous says:

Excellent This book is about as good as it gets for anyone wanting to think in depth (not necessarily “seriously”) about humour. It is commendable both for its overview of the relevant theories as well as for Critchley’s original ideas. It is short enough to read in an evening, but sufficiently substantial as well. Critchley writes as well as any contemporary philosopher I’ve read, which helps immensely when tackling a subject like this.

Anonymous says:

We came, we saw, we had a good laugh… Everyone is their own authority on humor. After all, who has the right to tell another person “Stop laughing! You don’t find that funny!” Though humor contains distinct subjective elements, the story doesn’t end there. Some jokes, characters, or narratives seem to elicit more laughter than others. In such cases, humor appears to contain objective traits. Here lies the comedian’s Holy Grail. What makes people laugh and why? A comedic formula that guarantees mass expulsions of laughter remains as…

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