Saturday, February 24, 2007

Serious about humour.

I have been known for my humour ( in both bad as well as good ways). I have hurt quite a people because of my humour, demeaned myself and many such things have happened. But what hurts me most that people think humour is easy. "Its easy to just say something stupid enough". Trust me, it's not. Over the years I have learned a lot of what humour can do to situations, relationships, meetings, speeches in both positive and negative ways. This piece of writing is dedicated to a serious thought to humour and going into the technicalities. Let me first try and take the reader (that is you...) through all the types of Humour that i know of:

  • Sarcasm: *

    noun [U]

    use of remarks which clearly mean the opposite of what they say, and
    which are made in order to hurt someone's feelings or to criticize
    something in an amusing way.
You look at me and you say "Looks like your are really sweating it out in the gym" Thats sarcasm. Can be effectively used in meetings, with colleagues to mean other than what you say. I prefer the way where your audience is also hearing what you are saying (which is not actually funny) but laugh when they "get" what you "want" to say. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

  • Satire:*

    noun [C or U]

    a way of criticizing people or ideas in a humorous way, or a piece of writing or play which uses this style.
Yes! Mostly used in plays/films. You could call George Orwell's 'Animal farm', 'Yes Minister' on BBC as Satire. I dont generally criticize people. Ideas, I do and yup thats satire from me (very rarely although).

  • Black Humour:*

    noun [U]

    an amusing way of looking at or treating something that is serious or sad.
Not my forte. But some people are really good at it. I saw this Marathi play that was based on death and the rituals that follow. Superb black comedy. I try my hand unsuccessfully sometimes but people frown ..."thoda bhi seriousness nahi hei bande mein"

*dictionary meaning courtesy

Other than these I have some types of my own. They may be defined at other places but I haven't bothered searching.

  • Self deprecating humour: Now you are talking! This I can do and do in style. But this is risky game I have come to learn. people stop taking you seriously. People dumber than you think they are far superior than you just because they have never heard any one praising you. They know you as the butt of all jokes (that you yourself crack). You kinda start losing respect in other's eyes. You gotta perform so damn good in your work that you may be deprecated ONLY BY YOU. I have burnt my hands, but old habits die hard.
  • Regional humour: This is only if you know your audience well enough. These are something like jokes on sardarji, mallu, bengoli. Not everyone appreciates it. Don't crack such jokes in office or at work place unless you are sure that there is no one of the community or from that region in the audience or you are absolutely sure of the group's sense of humour.
  • Humour in uniform: These are jokes related to certain professions. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, Army Men, etc. Be cautious with this as well. Since these are related to a person's profession, it may show in the service you are getting. Army men generally take it in the right spirit and lawyers are the most dangerous lot.
  • Humour in relationship: Kids jokes, Grandpa/Granny jokes, husband/wife or marriage based jokes or even circumstantial humour based on these people. This is cool humour. Have hardly seen anyone mind it!
  • Humour@work: Best at workplace. The butt of the joke could be your boss, colleague, secretary, your organisation's performance, policies. Best thing about this type is that everyone appreciates it and can relate to it. Please avoid the theme of the joke to be ethnicity of any of the above 'butts' if you want to have a good working environment. Don't even bother to put this humour to work with your friends. They know nothing of your work, they wont be laughing at the joke, but at you.
There are further classifications in my mind about the delivery of humour as well. It could be enactment, mimicry, straight faced narration and narration with expressions. The timing and delivery make or break a humourous moment/story. I can confidently deliver all sorts of presentations but not all types of humours.

This has been a really serious post I guess (and I mean no sarcasm..)

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