WHILE dealing with the sadness of my father’s recent passing and preparing for his funeral, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my brother, who, for reasons I can never understand, has chosen to live in a small maritime city in Canada even though he is free to live anywhere else, but that is another story. I haven’t spent much time with my brother in a long time (because I do not live in a small maritime city in Canada), but our time together suddenly activated a memory that I had obviously forgot, namely: he and I share a very similar sense of humour. We crack each other up, and like to laugh at the same absurd things. Our shared laughter has been a bright beacon in an otherwise sad time, and I am very glad for it.
It should not really be surprising that my brother and I share a similar sense of humour, and yet I was surprised anyway. Go figure. Sense of humour, studies have shown, is a learned trait rather than a genetic one, and my brother and I share - having grown up together - many of the same childhood experiences, and developed our senses of humour in a very similar environment to each other.
And while both our parents enjoyed a good laugh, both my brother and I agree that our sense of humour is markedly different from theirs. My mother used to love sharing a giggle fit with her sisters over stories which no one else could understand (due to the strong Scottish accents and the constant giggles that interrupted every telling) and which didn’t really have any point, and my father had a particularly ‘avuncular’ sense of humour; you know, bad puns and silly jokes that make your eyes roll more than they will ever make you laugh. My dad’s favourite joke, which he told me many times was: “How long are a rabbit’s legs? Long enough to reach the ground.”
One study has found that children as young as one year old begin to develop their sense of humour, or at least their abilityto recognise humour. And so, while my brother and I do not share the same sense of humour with our parents, we obviously got our sense of humour from our mother and father, who are the only source of comic materials for many years.
Being the couple of rebels without causes that my brother and I are, it
is likely that the difference between our sense of humour and that of our parents was a teenage reaction to their ‘old people’ humour, and our desire to rebel against whatever wasn’t cool, i.e. whatever our parents liked. Our sense of humour is decidedly more vulgar than that of our parents, for example, “How long are a rabbit’s legs? Long enough to reach its ass.”
There is nothing quite like being around someone who exactly shares
your sense of humour. It is exhilarating and comforting, and I recommend sharing a laugh with a family member or a friend as often as you can! It’s good therapy in tough times.
The Comedy Club Bangkok, Sukhumvit 33/1 (above The Royal Oak Pub) comedyclubbangkok.com