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?