Humour and Culture

Don’t worry, this is not one of the prose pieces on the science behind all of these big concepts, but an articulation of a sudden thought. It just struck me that one of the hardest things to communicate across cultures is a sense of humor. Humour by virtue of much of its nature is so very culturally contextual that it is one of the last things that one begins to appreciate as a resident alien. There you have it – I find the natural juxtaposition of those two words, resident alien, define my legal status in the United States with an interesting many layered pun in there.

Others may not see the jest… so what do you do when you’ve always had your true sense of humour blunted just for an audience of one? Yourself? You learn to adapt and observe the other person or culture very quickly to your own attempts at humor in order to make jokes that actually make someone else laugh.

Or to make a visual pun on words, humor is so much more humourous when it has a you or two in it. User centered also applies to companies like The Second City, which is why improvisational humor can cross cultures more easily – witness Monty Python and their worldwide appeal.

When they’ve framed the jokes cues themeselves the punchline always make sense.

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