Humor & Sexual Selection
Much catchier than "Humor Theory", am I right?
First let's state the obvious thing here - if you want to take the fun out of humor, just attach the word "theory" to it. So, why bother writing up this idea of the "theory of humor" at all?
Well, to put it simply - it's to understand that, oddly enough, humor is no laughing matter when it comes to the essential role it plays in navigating this crazy world we live in. As such, you start to see how it can really make a difference in how people relate to each other, to message retention and to ourselves - whether personally or professionally.
If you do a Google search, you will see that there is no lack of theories on why humor exists or how it is used. They have real exciting names, too, like "Incongruous Juxtaposition Theory", "Ontic-Epistemic Theory" and "Computational Neural Theory".
At the risk of "TMI" but in the spirit of transparency, my favorite is the "Sexual Selection Theory" which posits that "human characteristics like humor evolved by sexual selection....as an indicator of other traits that were of survival value, such as human intelligence." (2001, The Mating Mind, by Geoffrey Miller). I'm not sure online dating was around when this theory took hold - just my two cents.
Sorry for that diversion - back to our blog.
There is a theory of humor that I like to call the "Humor Connection Theory". The idea behind this is that the expression of humor - whether it is the quality of approaching something through a funny or comedic lens and perspective or simply the overall comedic mood - acts as a connective tissue or glue to bring together people, concepts and mindsets that would otherwise not necessarily connect or in the same profound way.
This "Humor Connection Theory" is, simply put, just like the role of the stand-up comedian - to not only work at the craft of writing in such a way that presents ideas in new and resonant ways, but also to deliver content in ways that bring together audiences in a way that provides focus and clarity. The way we know this works in a comedy club is through the unified laughter that ensues. In a business setting, we know it works by metrics and performance indicators that move businesses along like customer awareness, engagement and loyalty, and brand reputation and share of voice.
Humor is a special element that serves as a connective tissue where few others exist. When done flawlessly, one doesn't even recognize there's a theory behind it at all.
Thanks for reading. Please make sure to sign up and stay tuned for the Eliro weekly blog and remember - "a little wit goes a long way!"
Next week - Humor Theory, Why Now?