Humour

Having No Sense of Humor Is Worse Than Being Boring

Do you ever find yourself in a room full of people laughing at something someone said, only to realize you’re the only one apparently not in on the joke? It’s an interesting problem to have, and one not many people are aware of.

I’ve always been a smart-alec, it’s just in my blood. But I’ve definitely felt weird before when I say something clever and everyone laughs except one person. Did I offend them? Did they just not get the joke? Sometimes it could be that person doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Maybe you don’t find people to be all that funny. That’s okay. But studies have shown that having a sense of humor and laughing often can extend your lifespan. In fact, having a good sense of humor increases your chances of reaching retirement age. But after 70, those benefits can decrease. So until then, get to chuckling!1

Laughter really is the best medicine!

It turns out that old cliche is an accurate one! In fact, learning to laugh more and loosen up can actually alleviate stress. Letting go of anger through laughter can help you release all that pent up anxiety and help you to be more balanced. This doesn’t just mean laughing at other people’s lame jokes or forcing yourself to smile when someone says something they deem witty; it also means laughing at yourself.

In today’s world it can be so challenging to just let things roll off our backs and keep our heads up. But learning to laugh at our own mistakes can go a long way in helping us in our happiness.2 When I feel stressed, I like to find a good pun, like this one:

When you laugh at yourself, you radiate positivity.

In 2011, a study was conducted to determine if laughing at ones self impacted character perception. Sixty-seven undergrads decided to rate their ability to laugh at themselves and had a couple witnesses come up with their own ratings. The undergrads essentially tricked the witnesses, as they took pictures of them as they filled out a questionnaire. The participants were shown numerous pictures later, including their own which had been wildly distorted and stretched. The photos were so distorted, in fact, that the participants didn’t recognize their own faces. While they rated the photos in terms of humor, they were filmed so the researchers could analyze their reactions to determine genuine happiness and smiles.3

Although 80 percent of participants flashed a genuine smile at least once on seeing their own distorted image, it was those who claimed to be able to laugh at themselves, and whose peers agreed with this verdict, who showed more frequent and intense smiling and laughter in response to the distorted self-images, and fewer signs of fake smiles or negative emotion.

While no real correlation was determined between the ability to laugh at ones self and the amount of laughter triggered by the funny images of other peoples’ faces, there does seem to be evidence that proclivity for laughing at ones self really is a distinctive trait. So basically, don’t be so hard on yourself! You’ll like yourself more and be more enjoyable to others!

There are actually many types of humor.

Laugh-at-life humor. So far, we’ve really focused on the ability to laugh at yourself and at life. This is a specific type of humor that is usually related to not taking life too seriously. If you have this kind of humor, you probably know when to take…

Animatronic Lyndon Baines Johnson

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Animatronic LBJ tells stories and makes jokes
Animatronic President Johnson is surrounded by caricatures LBJ Presidential Library/Public Domain (Public Domain)
Animatronic President Lyndon Baines Johnson LBJ Presidential Library/Public Domain (Public Domain)

President Lyndon Baines Johnson was known for his stories and his sense of humor. At the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, an animatronic version of the 36th U.S. president continues his legacy, spinning tales and reciting jokes for adoring visitors.

A view of the 'Skin and Bones' collection. (Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata)
Austin, Texas

This talking, gesturing robotic President Johnson is a highlight of…