Jump to content
Nesf

Difficulty understanding humour

Recommended Posts

Nesf

Does anyone else here often have difficulty understanding humour? By this, I mean:

Understanding sarcasm, and knowing when a person is being sarcastic.

Understanding when something said is meant to be taken as a joke, and when it is serious.

Picking up on references to popular culture.

Getting the joke, understanding why something is funny.

Banter, wind-ups and teasing. Understanding banter, being able to follow it and return it. knowing when someone is trying to wind you up.

Double entendres

Understanding Gifs. These are often lost on me because I can't make the connection between the gif and the point the person is trying to make. They are abstact and often not direct.

I believe that eveyone has some level of difficulty understanding humour; not all people get all jokes 100% of the time, but I seem to have a lot more difficulty than most. All the above present some level of difficulty for me. It can be quite a serious difficulty, because so much of social interaction is based around humour. People like and want to be with people who are fun. Social groups bond together because they share jokes, laugh together, banter, and this is what is fun for then. The group develops its own culture. If you don't /can't join in this, then you aren't part of the group because you don't share in its culture, and you are an outsider. The group then won't include you in its activities. Many people find me boring and don't seek my company because they think that I'm boring. I don't do banter, I don't get other people's jokes, I don't get when something is meant as a joke and I take everything seriously or literally, I don't realise when someone is being sarcastic, I don't understand their references to popular culture and so they think I come from another planet (humour intended there :) ) I often find that I can't relate to or join in people's conversations because of this, and I seek out more 'serious' people who like being with me the way I am and don't mind if I'm not 'fun' all the time.

Growing up, I had a very hard time because people picked up on the fact that I was unable to tell when someone was just joking or that I just didn't get things, and I often got very upset. My siblings made a kind of game of it by winding me up on purpose :( I still have difficulty with this, though I'm glad to say that my siblings no longer wind me up on purpose.

It's not that I'm completely lacking in humour; it's just that my sense of humour is different than theirs. I would say I have quite a childish sense of humour, I like slapstick comedy and toilet humour, and I like absurd, surreal humour like Monty Python. I also like playing on words and puns. One of my favourite movies is Life of Brian :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pinky and his brain

Well I used to have trouble with jokes and pranks when I was a child/teenager. But I guess all the times I fell for a joke, taught me to be sceptical of what other people tell me.

So now I think my "coping mechanism" is to treat everything as a potential joke, until I have had the time to collect enough information to confirm what it is. That of course often means that I'm the boring guy who doesn't laugh at jokes, until everyone else does. But it prevents me from embarrassing myself too much. It's also very hard to pull a prank on me in real life, because I'm extremely sceptical towards other people. I always assume they will try to trick me. I guess the lack of trust, is a side effect of the childhood teasing/bullying. 

When it comes to sarcasm, I use a simple rule. If it's too good or too bad to be real, then it's sarcasm. When people exaggerate wildly, then it's often sarcasm. It works most of the time.

But of course none of the above will work 100% of the time. But it the best defence strategy I have been able to come up with.  :)

Kind of sad, that we live in a world, where people have to find strategies to deal with life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gone away

 

4 hours ago, Nesf said:

Banter, wind-ups and teasing

Personally I find that sort of thing mostly cruel and don't really understand why its done.

I certainly have a sense of humour, but it tends to me more ... ? innocent ? 

My partner refers to things I find humorous as just silly and my 15yr old son tends to look down on my humour with an 'oh dear' , 'are you five?'

I can't remember jokes or funny stories and most jokes I hear tend to be a not funny anticlimax.

However, humour (my type of humour) is a bit like libido for me ... sometimes there in abundance and other times completely absent. Mood and timing plays a part. Sometimes its a case of being in the right mood at the right time to 'get it'. 

My kind of thing TV humour wise are people like Will Ferrel  ('Land of the Lost' had me in hysterics for some reason the 1st time), some Steve Martin films, Norman Wisdom, Family Guy etc. I do have an interest in TV comedy and periodically  watch the comedy channel on sky ... though its rare for me to actually laugh , it does happen sometimes..

4 hours ago, Nesf said:

If you don't /can't join in this, then you aren't part of the group because you don't share in its culture, and you are an outsider

Yes I can relate to being or feeling like an outsider ... when I 'have to' fit in and am serious, I think of myself as being 'under cover' ... thats a private joke to me ... :)

I don't watch a great deal of TV or news etc so am never really topical.

Usually if I do joke its to make the best of a bad situation, but people think I'm serious, and then when I'm serious people think I am joking :rolleyes:

I think I'm pretty funny sometimes, but often only to myself :(

4 hours ago, Nesf said:

It's not that I'm completely lacking in humour; it's just that my sense of humour is different than theirs. I would say I have quite a childish sense of humour, I like slapstick comedy and toilet humour, and I like absurd, surreal humour

I think that largerly sums things up for me ... I like to see the fun in funny, but some modern humour lacks the fun element for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lefki

Same here! Sarcasm is very difficult for me to understand and my boyfriend has this kind of humor. So even now 7 years later I still take literally most of his jokes or I ask "Do you mean that or are you joking?".

Pranks, teasing etc for me are just mean acts and I could never understand how people laugh with these.

Yet, sometimes, I find myself laugh in inappropriate situations, like in funerals or in a gathering where everyone is discussing something very serious, just because my mind is always thinking and makes weird connections, or I am noticing little details that are funny but no one seems to see them. 

I can't tell jokes. I never remember any. Even if I try to tell one joke, this would be a total disaster and everyone will be staring at me confused about what I am trying to say. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dingo

I usually have to know a person pretty well in order to know when they are being sarcastic.  It helps me catch on when they are saying something out of character or what they likely cannot be serious about.  But I do still have trouble.  There are a lot of times my dad will have to explain that he is joking or being sarcastic about something.  Or my brother will repeat something he saw or heard that he found funny, expecting me to laugh as well, but I'll end up needing him to explain it to me.

But I will also laugh at things that no one else thinks is funny.  Sometimes I'll laugh so hard that my face hurts and they'll just look at me like I'm insane.  And sometimes I will suddenly laugh at something I was thinking about or remember and they will stare at me because to them it seems like I just started laughing at nothing.

I'm not sure how to describe what makes me laugh.  Usually it has to make some kind of sense.  I don't understand a lot of Monty Python, but I like Holy Grail and Life of Brian.  Holy Grail has some great stuff like when King Arthur tries to explain that he is the king to a couple of peasants.  Just thinking about it now made me start laughing a bit  :lol:  I don't understand a lot of their skits though. 

There a certain fictional characters that make me laugh.  Dr. Evil from Austin Powers is one.  I also like Cartman and Butters from South Park.  I haven't watched it in a long time, but I liked Bart and Krusty from The Simpsons.  I never understood why people seemed to like Homer the most.  And I love Mr Bean.  I think he is hilarious  :lol:  He is so childlike, but also a complete jerk at times.  I like the solutions he comes up with to solve problems.  They're creative and funny to me  :lol:

I like a lot of British humour, but the problem is that I don't understand a lot of the sayings or references.  Like whenever I watch Fawlty Towers, I laugh a lot, but there are also a lot of things that characters say that I have to just ignore because I don't understand what they are talking about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nesf

Thanks for your replies :)

@Pinky and his brain, yes, I also learned to be sceptical of people an not believe easily what they are saying if what they are saying sounds far-fetched. But the problem is that the joke or level of seriousness is often conveyed in the tone of voice, and that's what I often don't pick up on. I can't tell the difference between serious and joke, and I often think that something serious is a joke. I remember when I was a child, my mum annouced she was pregnant with my younger sister, everyone in the family took it seriously but I didn't believe it, because I thought it was just another wind-up that everybody was in on. It took a full week before I realised that it was for real :lol: I used to pretend to find something funny even when I didn't understand it, but it seems false and wrong to me, and I've stopped doing this now. I always was a terrible actress, anyway. I can sometimes get sarcasm, but not always.

@chris@chris, @Aggie, I agree that teasing and wind-ups are mean. This kind of thing is only funny when the joke is understood, accepted and shared by both parties, otherwise it is just bullying. It's good to laugh with someone, and not ok to laugh at someone. I can't remember jokes very well, either, and tend to tell them in a flat voice, so they don't sound so funny.

@Raziel I often laugh at things that others don't find particularly funny, too - I think that people find my sense of humour rather silly or childish, or just plain weird.

I grew up on British comedies in the 1980s, so I can understand the kind of humour in Fawlty Towers, modern humour is a lot more difficult for me too, I don't like things like panel shows because I don't understand the humour. I like shows like The Simpsons and South Park, but I don't get all the jokes. I guess you have to watch a lot of TV to get all the references, and I don't watch very much TV at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dingo
11 hours ago, Nesf said:

 

@Raziel I often laugh at things that others don't find particularly funny, too - I think that people find my sense of humour rather silly or childish, or just plain weird.

I grew up on British comedies in the 1980s, so I can understand the kind of humour in Fawlty Towers, modern humour is a lot more difficult for me too, I don't like things like panel shows because I don't understand the humour. I like shows like The Simpsons and South Park, but I don't get all the jokes. I guess you have to watch a lot of TV to get all the references, and I don't watch very much TV at all.

I like some british panel shows.  I watch them on Youtube.  But I don't understand a lot of the jokes or references since a lot of them are about British celebrities or pop culture.  Some of the shows I watch really rely on that stuff which can make it really hard.  I think Sean Lock and Richard Ayoade are really funny.  Richard Ayoade seems to be really logical and literal and Sean Lock is really weird and bizarre, but his jokes often make some kind of weird sense to me so I find it funny. 

I don't watch much tv anymore either.  I think most of it is boring.  I like Archer and Game of Thrones a lot.  Archer is another show I think is hilarious, but I have a lot of trouble explaining the humour of it.  It is like a parody of James Bond and other spy things like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nesf
5 minutes ago, Raziel said:

I like some british panel shows.  I watch them on Youtube.  But I don't understand a lot of the jokes or references since a lot of them are about British celebrities or pop culture.  Some of the shows I watch really rely on that stuff which can make it really hard.  I think Sean Lock and Richard Ayoade are really funny.  Richard Ayoade seems to be really logical and literal and Sean Lock is really weird and bizarre, but his jokes often make some kind of weird sense to me so I find it funny. 

I don't watch much tv anymore either.  I think most of it is boring.  I like Archer and Game of Thrones a lot.  Archer is another show I think is hilarious, but I have a lot of trouble explaining the humour of it.  It is like a parody of James Bond and other spy things like that.

Yes, unfortunately so many TV series are based around celebrities, and I really don't get this kind to thing. I don't know why these shows attract such big audiences. I don't know who they are and i'm not interested in them, I find most of them superficial and boring. Just to illustrate my point, I have never heard of Sean lock or Richard Ayoade, I have no idea who they are! I don't watch Archer or Game of Thrones, or other modern popular shows (apart from Doctor Who), either. I watch a lot of documentaries, so I know the names of documentary presenters, and that's about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dingo
11 minutes ago, Nesf said:

Yes, unfortunately so many TV series are based around celebrities, and I really don't get this kind to thing. I don't know why these shows attract such big audiences. I don't know who they are and i'm not interested in them, I find most of them superficial and boring. Just to illustrate my point, I have never heard of Sean lock or Richard Ayoade, I have no idea who they are! I don't watch Archer or Game of Thrones, or other modern popular shows (apart from Doctor Who), either. I watch a lot of documentaries, so I know the names of documentary presenters, and that's about it.

I don't know who a lot of celebrities are.  My family says that as I get older, I get more out of touch with things.  But that annoys me because I didn't know who most of them were when I was younger either.  When I was younger teachers used to ask me who my heroes were and I could never think of anyway because I never really cared about the people, just what they did, like the books they wrote or the music they made. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nesf
22 minutes ago, Raziel said:

I don't know who a lot of celebrities are.  My family says that as I get older, I get more out of touch with things.  But that annoys me because I didn't know who most of them were when I was younger either.  When I was younger teachers used to ask me who my heroes were and I could never think of anyway because I never really cared about the people, just what they did, like the books they wrote or the music they made. 

I think that if I'd been asked that question, I'd have answered with Einstein or Tesla or Stephen Hawking, or something like that...wait, I remember that I liked Heather Couper, because she was a well-known female astronomer in a mainly male dominated domain at the time, and I was really into astronomy when I was a kid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.