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Humor: When It Does And Doesn’t Work

October 26, 2019

This old post came up tonight as we were discussing telling jokes in Italian – Un po ‘divertente per il fine settimana.😉


Most of us would like to think we have a sense of humor. It is a uniquely human trait and one that we all share in some degree. The problem is that humor is not universal. What’s funny in one language or culture often is not funny in another.

Years ago, my wife and I moved to Italy. We lived in a small village where people have an extraordinary sense of humor. However, my first time out as Shecky Greene proved to be a disaster. We were visiting a new friend who was in her mid-70s. She is very quick so I thought I would try out an old chestnut from my college years: What’s black and white and red all over? Of course, I had to explain that red and read sound the same in English but mean different things. I should have stopped right there. When you have…

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  1. Oh boy, that would be tough to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. È vero comunque l’humor é una delle espressioni dell’intelligenza, con il tempo si affina e si mette in sintonia con forme di humor diverso dal nostro.. Inglese, americano, ebraico.. Nella stessa Italia a Genova c’era l’humor di Govi, al sud Totó. Così diversi, entrambi forti!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can be very sarcastic and facetious, but I curb them significantly as many people don’t appreciate it. A friend doesn’t and wonders why he has some issues when it falls flat as often as it does. I would explain, but he thinks he knows it all so I don’t waste my time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Humor is definitely “home grown.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes it is. Good example is trying to do a humor skit in another part of the U. S. where the sense of humor is different enough not to go over well.

        After seeing your post, I stumbled across a Johnny Carson article on my phone. Can’t find it now, but it pointed out how he liked to take humor pot shots at others, but didn’t appreciate it when he was the target.

        Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Humor and Why It Often Fails on the Internet – November 21, 2019 | Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0
  2. allenrizzi – Featured Blogger of the Week December 13, 2019 | Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0

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