From New York magazine: “Psychologist Peter McGraw offered another way to think about how comedians handle timing, based on the theory of humor he outlines in his book ‘The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny,’ called ‘the benign violation theory.’ His idea is that things are funny when they somehow violate a norm or expectation without causing real harm. ‘We laugh at things that are wrong, yet okay; threatening, yet safe; confusing, yet make sense,’ McGraw said. Puns are an easy example. When you say, ‘I’m hungry,’ and your dad replies, ‘Hi, Hungry! I’m Dad!’ he is annoyingly altering the expected meaning of ‘I’m’ — a benign violation of conversational norms.”
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