There is a striking divide, in the literature on comedy, between approaches that stress the social functions of humor, including social control and alleviation of social stresses, and approaches that focus on the psychological mechanisms of humor, including incongruity and arousal. These two kinds of approach have proven quite resistant to integration, because they are rooted in fundamentally different understandings of the pleasure of humor. Put simply, the pleasure of the put-down is hard to square with the pleasure of the pun. This article examines new scientific research on humor, including recent brain imaging studies, to see if there is any evidence for an empirical divide. The conclusion, in practical analytical terms, is that when, near the start of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Shaun fails to notice that he is surrounded by zombies, our perception of the inappropriateness of the character's actions and our perception of the playfulness of the depiction are both necessarily involved in our perception of the scene's funniness.
realization that “it was always [women]… who had the power, the power to give life, the power to keep it” (94). In Highway’s play, female laughter is a sign of empowerment, and the power of motherhood is ultimately reinforced with the triumphant mirth of Hera
Value-Maximizing Interpretations of Withnail and I
—lost all my mirth … and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with
Modernist Aesthetics and American Underground Film
uncontrollable mirth.” She continues: “I try. Get it? While we have life we are superior to death, but watch out: death might be closer than you know. And that is our end. If I can postpone death even one minute, I have been successful in my art and so is all