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Four Types of Humor

The 4 Senses of Humor

Ancient Greeks saw humor as inherently aggressive, but ask anyone today what they look for in a date, and sense of humor will likely rank high. At least if they have one! But one person's joke is another person's rant, so it's fair to say all humor is not the same.

Psychology Today broke down the four main types of humor: laughing at life, making yourself the butt of the joke, putting others down, and bonding through jokes. Here are four people who exemplify each type.

David Sedaris: He popularized the lighthearted, laugh-at-life humor that's popular today. His ability to hone in on everyday foibles, annoyances, and hypocrisies makes him hilarious and lovable.


"I haven't the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out."

See the rest after the jump.

Stephen Colbert: Stephen Colbert's (the character not the man) entire shtick is hate-me humor. The Colbert Report centers on his ignorant, egomaniac persona for the audience's laughing pleasure.

"Now, I don't see color. People tell me I'm white, and I believe them because police officers call me 'sir.'"

Ellen DeGeneres: She's made a whole career out of bonding humor. Some might call it bland, but the genius lies in her ability to connect people. She instantly lightens the mood and accentuates similarities over differences.

"I'm a godmother, that's a great thing to be, a godmother. She calls me god for short, that's cute, I taught her that."

Bill Maher: He says "I kid, I kid" after about a quarter of his jokes — a sure sign of put-down humor. Humor at the expensive of others can be easy and some might say cheap, but it can also be useful when pointing out hypocrisy.

"Republicans say that sex is bad, because with them it always is. I'm sorry, but they're just doughy, asexual, wonky, white people, and if you had to have sex with them it would be over in an excruciating three minutes. It's just — and from the headlines of the past year I gather the only sex they're really good at, is gay sex."

What's your favorite?

Image Source: Getty
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zzleigh zzleigh 6 years
Love Sedaris, Colbert, O'Brien. I watch Maher "religulously" but I definitely have times where I think he gets a little over-the-top and I don't agree with him.
skigurl skigurl 6 years
it all depends on how it's delivered!! but i don't like put down humour that real life, it's mean and can be hurtful and is not necessary to be funny when it's putting down large groups like Republicans, though, i'm in...hehe
janneth janneth 6 years
I think Colbert is a genius. But Ellen's quote made me laugh aloud.
Girl-Jen Girl-Jen 6 years
"I haven't the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out." ^ That made me laugh out loud. The rest of them made me smile or chuckle, but that made me really laugh. I'm also into really simple, low-brow humor: sight gags, puns, people falling down (don't judge), and yes, even fart jokes. An episode of funny home videos hosted by the Monty Python crew would be my idea of heaven.
katies104 katies104 7 years
I love Stephen Colbert! Making yourself the butt of the joke is hard. You yourself can't laugh, so lots of people mess that up. Ridiculous cursing isn't very funny. I think Dane Cook is horrible.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 7 years
I like Colbert. In real life I make jokes pretending to be egotistical or vain because my friends know I'm not really like that. I'd like to make jokes like Ellen, even though I don't think she's funny, I think she's such a sweetheart that it works
cupcakers cupcakers 7 years
Conan O'Brien and Larry David would be under the making yourself the butt of the joke-right? because those 2 make me laugh like no other.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 7 years
Maher is a legend in his own mind. He isn't funny at all to me, and should stick with what he does best.... knocking up models and slumming around the Playboy mansion. He's like the ugly kid in high school who never got laid, and now has caught the brass ring. I also think he is a major misogynist. Absolutely cannot stand him, but his minions think he walks on water....different strokes for different folks, I guess.
DivAshleigh DivAshleigh 7 years
I love Ellen!! She seems so down to earth.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
I like laughing at life the most too. And myself. David Sedaris & Stephen Colbert FTW
runnereater runnereater 7 years
I love to laugh at anything, but I like to laugh at life the most. Laughing at other people can be funny from afar, but it kind of makes me uncomfortable when it's in small groups. I think I'm just sensitive that way.
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