AMER2071

Practically joking: Humor and the creative impulse

Credits:

Period:

Assessment:

6

TBC

100% coursework

Prerequisite:

Nil

Co-requisite:

Nil

Description

Elective Course


What does the phrase ‘practically joking’ mean to you? Is it a prank? Does it mean joking for a practical purpose? Is it almost a joke, something at the threshold but not quite there? Philosopher Simon Critchley argues that people align themselves with a community based on how they experience humor. We have all giggled at puns, satires, caricatures, jokes, parodies, cartoons, pranks, and more, but do we ever stop and think about how and why such humor operates? Why are some jokes able to cross social and cultural borders while others only translate to a select few? And is laughter a required byproduct of a joke, or is it simply one of many possible reactions? This course takes humor seriously. Seriously, this is not a joke. The class considers how humor intersects with the visual, performative, textual, filmic, and even legal (indeed, laws and rules are the substrate of much humor). We look at everything from cartoons, paintings, and performances to memes and viral jokes, and we consider the shifting nature of humor in a post-internet era of instantaneity. If humor is what makes us human, what does it mean when an AI formulates a joke and people laugh?

Professor: