I think humor is anything that causes me amusement, generally incongruity, exaggeration, satire, irony or buffoonery.
I tend to overlook that “humor” was coined many moons ago to describe a person’s temperament that is out of balance. I’m reminded what amuses me may be way out of balance to others.
INCONGRUITY. A couple years ago, a social justice lobby, members of a religious order went on a bus tour as “Sisters driving for faith, family and fairness.” Their banner was NUNS ON THE BUS. I was amused by the incongruity of women religious doing what rock stars do, touring on a bus. However, The Catholic Register called it a publicity stunt that did harm.
EXAGGERATION. When an elementary particle known as Higgs Boson was discovered in 2012, it was BIG news. BIG. It was referred to as THE GOD PARTICLE, a phrase coined by Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman, Director Emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Lederman is a smart scientist who used exaggeration to convey magnitude. It made me smile. However, some other smart scientists found the phrase misleading and harmful.
I think the following are humorous, but I could be mistaken.
SATIRE. It is satire if it makes fun of human foibles we share, such as men refusing to ask for driving directions and thus getting hopelessly lost. Okay, only half of us share this foible, but it’s amusing, isn’t it?
IRONY. It is irony if one thing is said but its opposite meaning is intended, such as “Men who refuse to ask directions are the smartest creatures on the face of the planet.” A chuckler, yes?
BUFFOONERY. It is buffoonery when one acts clumsy and boorish to be funny, as when a man who won’t ask directions jokes about being lost with his hopelessly lost and annoyed passengers. Funny yes or funny no?
Sometimes incongruity, exaggeration, satire, irony and buffoonery amuse, and sometimes they don’t; but I am certain about RIDICULE.
Ridicule is DERIDING SOMEONE SCORNFULLY to make others laugh. Not funny. Ever. Never ever.
Happy April Fools’ Day. What amuses you?