Quote of the Day
The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.
Incongruity is the mainspring of laughter.
One question about a joke is, how well is the strangeness of the situation resolved? At 'The New Yorker', we retain a lot of incongruity, tapping the playful part of the mind - Monty Python-type stuff. We also try to use humor as a vehicle for communicating ideas. Not editorial comment, but observation.
Grace is the absence of everything that indicates pain or difficulty, hesitation or incongruity.
I have a feeling that about 90% of my life has been shaped by my voice, both as an embarrassment and as an advantage. There was always the terrible incongruity of this deep voice barreling out of this little body. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was aware that it was ludicrous, that it took on an importance that wasn't really there.
Incongruity, they say, is one of the main ingredients of humor. Maybe it's because everybody can feel superior to me. I honestly don't know.
Worldly faces never look so worldly as at a funeral. They have the same effect of grating incongruity as the sound of a coarse voice breaking the solemn silence of night.
Sure, theories of humor discern a few broad invariants: incongruity, misattribution, etc. But whereas I might find a blind date gone horribly wrong to be hilarious, you might just wince and avert your eyes. I'm shedding tears of joy at the antics of the Three Stooges, while you're waiting in bored impatience for the slapfest to run its course.
Paul Di Filippo
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