What is funny

Humor can be broken down into four distinct categories.
Pain is the basis for all humor. It's a simple fact that if nobody gets hurt, it isn't funny. This includes both physical and emotional pain. For example, when Tweety hits Sylvester in the foot with a mallet, and he hops screaming, stars streaming from his foot, that's funny. If Tweety hit him and Sylvester didn't hurt at all, that's not funny. If Tweety hit him and Sylvester didn't hurt, but Sylvester turned around and stomped on Tweety's wittle head, that's funny.
Ethnic jokes are funny because they cause emotional pain to members of the ethnic group they poke fun at. However, be warned that it is common practice to respond to ethnic jokes with more humor. If you tell an ethnic joke and someone punches you in the nose, don't be surprised -- they're just showing their appreciation and responding in kind.
The only exception to this rule is when the pain happens to you. When you get hurt, it's not funny. It just hurts. However, other people will find your pain amusing, so be consoled in the knowledge that even though it hurts, people are still laughing at you.

The Unexpected
When something happens that you do not expect to happen, that's funny. When an anvil falls on Wile E. Coyote, you expect him to splatter all over the place and die. When he instead gets flattened into an accordian shape, that's funny. (Also, of course, his pain is funny. See above.) Another example is the title graphic at the top of this page. You read it, and the letters are black -- but then the last character is an orangy red color. It's unexpected, so it's funny.
When you tell a joke and no one laughs, that's funny because you didn't expect that to happen. So if you tell a joke and no one laughs, it is polite to laugh hysterically. Everyone else thought your joke was great, so they returned the favor by doing something funny for you too.

Lies and Other Untruths
Lies are inherently funny. If someone behind you in line asks how long you've been waiting, and you say "forever and a day," that's funny because it's a lie. Political jokes are popular because they're lies about liars. If a United States president is portrayed as a giant vending machine handing cash to a donkey, that's funny, because it's a lie. Probably what really happened was he gave the money to an elephant and a guy with a scythe. Another type of "lie" that is funny is when you see something in a place where it couldn't be, or doing something that isn't possible. This type of humor is both untrue and unexpected, so it's doubly funny. For instance, if a big fat cartoon character like Elmer Fudd tiptoes behind a skinny little tree and hides, that's funny. If a skinny little cartoon character like Bugs Bunny hides behind Elmer Fudd, that's not funny.

Saying words in funny ways is funny. For instance, Sylvester the cat is funny because he talks with a lisp and spits at the letter 's'. When British people say "aluminium," that's funny. In fact, anybody with an accent that isn't like yours is funny, and you should laugh to show your appreciation. Another type of wordplay that is funny is saying one word when you mean another. If you're with your girlfriend, and you call her "Cathy" when you meant to say "Tina," that's funny. This type of humor is often followed by humor involving pain.

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