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18+ Types Of Humor: What They Are & When They’re Used

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Research shows that humor is a necessary tool in social interactions.

To any reader or listener, humor is like the spice to written or spoken words.

Whether you’re looking to use humor in your day-to-day conversations, in your writing, or to improve your sense of humor generally, this may be the right place for you.

This article will discuss 22 types of humor, when they’re used, and examples.

What is Humor?

Humor is one of the essential literary devices in conversations and writing that has the potential to add spice to social interactions and grammar.

It exists in various types and forms.

For example, humor may apply in a particular situation and not another.

Different people have different senses and styles of humor.

Therefore, what may be funny to you may not be funny to someone else.

Using and recognizing humor in any dialogue is considered an impressive personality trait.

In addition, many believe humor is crucial when dealing with unpleasantries and monotony.

Research shows that people prefer relationships that incorporate humor and consume content that uses humor.

That explains why many podcasts that focus on comedy are on the rise, with a broader audience and more interaction.

Humor in conversations makes light of difficult and awkward situations.

By doing so, the affected parties may feel better and less stressed about such scenarios.

What are the 4 Main Types of Humor?

A Psychology researcher named Rob Martin designed a Humor Styles Questionnaire in 2003 to understand the impact and styles of humor among people.

From his research, he categorized it into four broad types.

1. Affiliative

Affiliative humor is commonly known in life situations to find fun.

Affiliative humor does not dwell on the self but on external things.

People that use affiliative humor do it intending to appear socially fun.

Affiliative humor is a great way to kick off conversations, keep things exciting and create a positive impression on the user.

2. Self-Enhancing

Self-enhancing humor focuses on making light of one’s blunders and embarrassing moments.

This type of humor aims at making yourself feel better about your negative life situations.

In this kind of humor, one comically highlights an unfortunate situation and then proceeds to counter it with a light bulb moment.

Simply put, it is the process of finding the positive side of the unpleasant circumstances of life.

3. Aggressive

Aggressive humor is cracking jokes through hurtful remarks about others.

Aggressive humor is harsh in its delivery and may lead to emotional hurt.

It is offensive and often not well received, as it usually has an unkind motive to mock and insult.

However, it remains a type of humor, and people who can take jokes without personalizing them can take them.

4. Self-Defeating

Using personal flaws to make people accept you is known as self-defeating humor.

In self-defeating humor, one uses their weaknesses before anyone attacks them the same.

This type of humor can be awkward as the audience may feel guilty about laughing at the expense of the user’s flaws.

What Are the Different Types of Humor?

Here are the different types of humor.

1. Slapstick

Slapstick humor is a type of humor that involves visual illustrations to bring out a humorous situation.

The visual illustrations are usually exaggerated beyond what normal looks like.

Think of hitting your head against a wall, falling off a moving plane, or spilling boiling contents on your face. Sounds absurd, right?

As the name suggests, slapstick comedy applies intensified sound effects to bring out the comical effect.

The actions may be unpleasantly violent or awkward, causing some people to miss the humor.

When Is It Used?

Slapstick comedy is mainly used when one doesn’t want to use dialogue to portray humor. In this case, physical activity is used.

Examples

A celebrated and seasoned comedian known for slapstick is Charlie Chaplain. See a compilation of some of his slapstick comedy moments here.

2. Dry Humor

Dry humor is humor delivered without any form of expression.

Dry humor, as the name suggests, applies no form of gestures, facial expressions, or variation of emotion.

Dry humor is meant to be funny, but the directness of its delivery makes it almost unfunny.

It takes an expert at dry humor to use it appropriately. Due to its flatness, some people miss the joke.

When Is It Used?

You can use this kind of humor when you intend to annoy someone intentionally.

Examples

Here are some examples of dry jokes

  • You can make holy water by boiling the hell out of it.
  • Are you a knife? Because you’re cutting through my heart.
  • While having a random conversation

Me: I think I’ll need an ambulance

Someone: Why? What’s wrong?

Me: I’m allergic to a dry sense of humor

Someone: Really?

3. Self-Deprecating Humor

Self-deprecating humor is a form of humor that makes fun of oneself or one’s characteristics.

When Is It Used?

To make light of one’s weaknesses or insecurities.

Example

  • My acne scars look like potholes in my face
  • I’m not good at anything.
  • I’m just a dumb mistake.

4. Wordplay

Wordplay humor is a type of humor that uses puns and other wordplay to create a humorous effect.

When Is It Used?

  • Writing when a character is making a pun.
  • The writer is poking fun at their writing.
  • The writer uses an unusual word or phrase to create a humorous effect.

Example

It Is when I say My name is “John,” but their last name is “Doe.”

This is a pun because John is the masculine name, and Doe is the feminine name.

Bob, the builder, built a bridge over the creek.

5. Satirical Humor

Satirical humor is designed to make people laugh by poking fun at wrong or ridiculous things.

This can take the form of satire, which uses irony and exaggeration to make a point.

For example, satire is often used to criticize people, institutions, or ideas, while humor makes people feel better.

When Is It Used?

It is often used to poke fun at a situation or group of people.

Example

Do you like your job?

Yeah! It’s always interesting to see how people react to difficult situations.

6. Witty Humor

Witty humor is often clever and aimed at making people laugh.

You can use it in poems, jokes, stories, and other types of writing.

It can be used to make people feel good or to make them laugh.

When Is It Used?

  • To add humor to a problematic situation.
  • To show that you are smart and know what is going on.
  • To show that you are confident and comfortable with yourself.

Example

If life is a roller coaster, wear a seatbelt.

If you want to be happy, tie a balloon to a string and watch it fly away.

7. Dark Humor

Dark humor is a form that typically deals with taboo subjects and portrays them ironically or humorously.

It can be cynical, satirical, or humorous and is often used to make light of serious problems or situations.

When Is It Used?

To make a serious issue more bearable or entertaining or create a humorous contrast between dark and light subjects.

Example

Dig your own grave, as shown in this video 

8. Cringe Humor

Cringe humor is a type of humor that is intended to make people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

When Is It Used?

To make light of serious topics and often used to make fun of people or their mistakes.

Example

You might take a picture of their breakfast and edit it to look like you’re eating a disgusting slug.

9. Ironic Humor

Ironic humor is when a situation or comment is intended to be humorous but instead causes a reaction that is not funny.

When Is It Used?

Making a point about the ironic nature of the situation often involves juxtaposing two seemingly unrelated concepts.

Example

I can say, “I’m not a morning person,” and then proceed to wake up early for work.

You can say that you are not sad.

This can be seen as ironic because unhappy people usually do something that makes them miserable.

10. Topical Humor

Topical humor is a type that is specific to the current situation or topic.

It is often used to make a point or to entertain.

When Is It Used?

To make a point, amuse, or pass the time.

Example

I was driving in my car today and saw a vehicle going in the opposite direction with a huge banner that said, “Get a Life!” I couldn’t help but laugh.

11. Highbrow Humor

Highbrow humor is a type of humor aimed at a more sophisticated audience.

This audience is likely to be more educated and, as such, may be more likely to appreciate a good joke.

When Is It Used?

To add a layer of sophistication to a conversation.

It is often used to make a joke that might not be appropriate for a more general audience.

Example

A joke about a dirty joke might be considered highbrow humor.

This is because it is not meant for a general audience.

12. Lowbrow Humor

Lowbrow humor is often found in popular cultures, such as stand-up comedies, sitcoms, and late-night talk shows.

It is often characterized by its crudity and appeals to lower socioeconomic classes.

When Is It Used?

To make fun of people or things considered beneath contempt, such as the poor, the elderly, or the uneducated.

Example

He who laughs last laughs best”.

This phrase is often used to show that the person who gains the advantage in a situation is the most relaxed and confident.

“All men are animals, but some are more animals than others.”

This phrase is often used to make fun of men who are excessively violent or animalistic.

13. Surreal Humor

Surreal humor is a type of humor that uses absurd or surprising elements to create a humorous effect.

It is often associated with surrealist movements.

When Is It Used?

Surreal humor is often applied where rules don’t apply. used to shock or amuse the audience.

Example

Wearing a clown suit might be interpreted as being strange or clownish, but the clown suit could also be seen as a symbol of happiness or joy.

14. Hyperbolic Humor

Hyperbolic humor is a type of humor that uses exaggeration to make a point and sometimes even nonsensical language to make a point.

When Is It Used?

To make a situation or person more humorous or mock a problem.

Example

You are so tall you can see the world from the top of a building.

15. Observational Humor

Observational humor is a type of humor that relies on the observer’s point of view.

Humor typically arises from the everyday situations and objects that are observed.

When Is It Used?

When people observe a particular subject or situation, they express that opinion through jokes.

Example

A good example is when a politician jokes about not caring about the poor.

16. Sarcasm

Sarcasm uses irony and ridicule. It is often used to convey a critical but humorous view of something.

When Is It Used?

When someone is trying to be funny or when you are offended?

Example

A good example is when I say, “That’s clever when in reality, that’s stupid.”

17. Parody

Parody humor is a type of humor that employs the technique of imitation or exaggeration to make a satirical point.

It is often based on popular culture, typically film, television, or stand-up comedy.

Many funny podcasts that incorporate humor use parody forms to generate humor by mocking popular media or current affairs and entertaining their listeners, typically to offset criticism about the quality of programs.

When Is It Used?

When poking fun at a congregation or person.

Example

Your wife wears your suit and starts reading a sheet of paper, imitating the husband, a newscaster.

Types of Humor in Literature

Here are some of the common types of humor in literature.

1. Surprise

Surprise humor is a type of humor that relies on the unexpected or unusual.

It can be used for comedic or dramatic effects and can be found in fiction, poetry, and drama.

Surprise humor can be used to surprise the reader, the character, or the audience.

2. Situational

Situational comedy is humor that relies on the unexpected and often bizarre.

It can be found in literature, movies, and comedy clubs.

Situational comedy often depends on the juxtaposition of two seemingly everyday situations.

Situational comedy is often used to mock standard social conventions.

3. Irony

The irony is a literary device that often juxtaposes what is expected in a particular situation with what occurs.

Inherent in this technique is a sense of humor, which is usually the driving force behind irony.

4. Understatement or Overstatement

Understatement or overstatement can be found in literature in many different ways.

For example, a character might understate their feelings or intentions or overstate the situation.

Additionally, a writer might use understatement to create a sense of detachment or remove the reader from the emotional experience.

Finally, overstatement humor can also be used for comedic effects.

In this case, it is used to underscore the ridiculousness of a situation.

It can also help to emphasize the importance of a message.

5. Satirical Humor

Satirical humor is a type of humor that is designed to make the reader laugh.

It is often used to criticize society or point out life’s absurdities.

Satirical humor is often used in literature to critique society or point out life’s absurdities.

Wrapping Up

The possible applications of humor are broad.

You have a myriad of humor that you can safely apply to your conversations and written content to enhance the feel of things.

Other options are available if one type feels like it could be more natural to you.

Which is your favorite kind of humor? Feel free to interact with us and ask questions in the comments below.

Remember that humor creates an easy atmosphere for the people involved, improves interactions, and helps to simplify life’s intricacies.

Therefore, it might be a good chance for you to start applying humor in your daily life to enhance your life’s social aspects.

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