Humor in Media

Humor in Media (Media Log 2)

Humor is frequently exposed in the world of media. It has always been evident in several types of media such as films, songs, and commercials. The first media is a TEDX video presentation that shows a Belgian writer, producer, and director, Peter Perceval, presenting his idea of sense of humor as a key to innovation to students and esteemed guests of the University of Hasselt. TEDX is basically a platform for people of different professions to present their ideas to universities, institutions, and people by means of public speaking. Tim Bajarin (2014), a prominent writer for TIME magazine, stated that “TED has become a launching point for some interesting soul searching, creating within me a desire to learn more about things that matter outside of my own world” (para.1). The media example placed a major emphasis on the message that: humor is beneficial to one’s brain as it improves brain activity that is geared towards learning and comprehending, hence, a key to innovation. This message is conveyed by the subject of the media example, Peter Perceval, through his presentation of concrete examples and testimonials of people who use humor as a weapon for innovation and success.

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(Photo of Peter Perceval’s TEDx talk. Courtesy of TEDxUHasselt)

Another media example that depicts the nature of humor is a video of a comedian’s stand-up performance. Most people find it funny when comedians would impersonate a certain TV personality or a celebrity. This type of humor is called the “Parodic humor” and it is mostly seen on talk shows, sitcoms, and comedy bars. It is no secret that the word “Parody” initially came from the Greek words “side-by-side”, this suggests that a parody is intended to be compared side-by-side with the original (Howard, n.d.). Parodic humor is also evident in one of the funniest performance of renowned Indian-Canadian comedian, Russell Peters. The video shows a segment from a recorded stand-up comedy performance of Russell Peters back in the early 20’s. In the video, Russell jokes about the different kinds of ethnicity by imitating varieties of ethnic people with the intention of ridiculing them. The intensity of laughter is at the optimum every time Russell imitates a person who embodies a certain race (Chinese, Indian, and Arabs). His funniest impersonation was of a 60 years old Chinese thrift shop seller trying to force an unjust bargain on a tourist. People found the impersonation funny as it entailed the absurdity of the situation in which an Indian man is speaking with a Chinese accent. Humor is evident in the example due to the fact that people found the parodical skit or performance particularly funny or amusing. This is the message that the media example is trying to convey; there is humor in a parodical presentation and humor is not limited to one type, but rather embodies several forms, such as Parodic, Situational, and Blue humor. This essay aims to convey the primal message of the two media examples that humor has its benefits to people’s well-being and humor comes in several forms; it also aims to differentiate the two media examples.

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(Photo of Russell Peters in one of his stand-up performance. Courtesy of Youtube.com)

The TedX media presentation and the stand-up comedy performance are different in terms of their types of audience and the manner of conveying the message. The TedX media shows that the audience is almost entirely made up of researchers and students. This is no surprise since the TEDx event was hosted in a University. As for the second media, the stand-up performance is made up of people of different race, profession and backgrounds who yearn for entertainment and laughter. People who usually go to stand-up bars or shows are those who seek to relieve any prior stress or problems since it is in laughter or humor where people can relieve their stress. As for the second differentiation, the TEDx talk involved a speaker presenting his message with the use of slideshows and materials that entail scientific details, while the second media did not show the speaker presenting with materials that would help convey his jokes. The difference is clear since the TEDx talk is more of an educational presentation, hence, the presence of educational materials. While as for the second example, it did not include any props or materials because the format of a stand-up performance is a narrative-like and personal type of performance.

Humor is a big part of everybody’s lives. They may not be aware of it, but it affects them in the most unexpected yet positive way. The primal message of the two media examples is that humor has its benefits to people’s well-being and that humor comes in several forms. The general public should have the knowledge of this message as it will help them realize that there are different ways to enhance one’s sense of humor and also become aware of the benefits that having a sense of humor provides. If people are aware of the different forms of humor, such as the one mentioned earlier (Parodic humor), they will have the capability to turn a dull joke into a funny one by using other types of humor and hence, reinforcing their sense of humor. Lastly, if people are aware of the different benefits that having a sense of humor provides, such as the improvement of brain activity, then they will have an incentive to listen to more jokes. Clarita (2011) asserts that the comprehension part of the brain is activated by listening to good jokes, hence, exercising the muscles in the brain. Furthermore, humor will also benefit the emotional stature of a person. Singh (n.d.) stated that “Humour helps reduce stress and strengthen the immune system helping an individual to overcome any pain with utmost ease”. (para. 1) That being said, laughter is truly the best medicine.

Humor is all around us, from conversations to Oscar winning films. However, most people do not realize that humor can impact them in the highest regard. Nowadays, people are attached to their smartphones and tablets, they are so attached that they regard these products of technology as their life partner. It is in these objects where people discover new ideas and messages. Social media would not have been existent, had it not been for the presence of smartphones and tablets. It is in social media where people are always yearning for new things to learn, hence, making it an ideal platform to market the message of having a sense of humor. For example, one can use Twitter (A social networking site that allows people to share things through a textual format) to say or “tweet” that “A laughter a day keeps the doctors away”. This way, people would absorb the idea that there are benefits of having a sense of humor.

Parodic humor is often used by brands that advertise their products or services. It is used to entertain the consumers who are interested in what the brand is providing. However, these advertising parodies include the intention of criticizing or ridiculing a certain object, after all, that is the essence of parodic humor. While it may provide entertainment to the audience, it still has the possibility of pissing off the objects that were ridiculed by the parody advertisement. Hence, reflecting the idea of humor in a negative manner. In order to revamp this problem, people who come up with these parody advertisements should take note of personal sentiments that would possibly cause tension.

Humor is a big part of everyone’s life as it conveys happiness to the society. For me, humor gives me an optimistic view in looking at some of my distasteful experience. Humor has its way of soothing my soul and releasing the pressure of worry and guilt. Humor to me, is my life vest when I am drowning in an ocean filled with miseries and worries. Had I not used humor as my helping hand in my past experiences, I would not have been able to conquer my previous challenges and problems. Life is too short to be miserable all the time, so go live well, love much and laugh often.

References

Horn, Sam (2013) The 7 steps to delivering a mind blowing TED talk. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/3022070/the-7-steps-to-delivering-a-mind-blowing-ted-talk

Howard, Maria (n.d.) Satire, parody, or spoof: Types of humorous writing. Retrieved from http://study.com/academy/lesson/satire-parody-or-spoof-types-of-humorous-writing.html

Kaye, Jezra (n.d.) Giving a TED-style talk? Here’s how they’re different from business presentations Retrieved from: http://speakupforsuccess.com/how-are-ted-talks-and-business-presentations-different/

Singh, K. (n.d.) How to improve your sense of humor in 14 days? The Wisdom Post. Retrieved from http://www.thewisdompost.com/949/how-to-improve-your-sense-of-humour-in-just-14-days

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