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72 Examples of Humor

 , October 24, 2021 updated on May 19, 2023
Humor is a sharp sense of joy that can be generated by the surprising, absurd and slightly dark. This is a perplexing and paradoxical human emotion that helps us to deal with a world that is often tense, unpredictable, harsh, strange or nonsensical. Humor essentially turns darkness into joy. The following are illustrative examples of humor.

Slice of Life

Slice of life comedy involves stating absurdities that have some truth to them.
Dogs are the leaders of the planet.
If you see two life forms, one of them's making poop,
the other one's carrying it for him,
who would you assume is in charge?
~ Jerry, Seinfeld
A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it.
~ Bob Hope
If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.
~ Steven Wright
A waffle is like a pancake with a syrup trap.
~ Mitch Hedberg
I went into a McDonald’s yesterday and said, “I’d like some fries.” The girl at the counter said, “Would you like some fries with that?”
~ Jay Leno
An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs.
~ Mitch Hedberg
I like parties, but I don't like piñatas because the piñata promotes violence against flamboyant animals.
~ Demetri Martin
There's no such thing as soy milk. It's soy juice.
~ Lewis Black
You know what a cubicle basically says? It basically says, like, 'You know what? We don't think you're smart enough for an office, but we don't want you to look at anybody.'
~ Bill Burr
You know there is a problem with the education system when you realize that out of the 3 R's only one begins with an R.
~ Dennis Miller
I wonder what the word for dots looks like in Braille.
~ Demetri Martin
Two wrongs do not make a right; but three rights make a left.
~ George Lopez
When they were naming the animals, somebody got lazy: anteater? What's it doing? It's eating ants. DONE!
~ Demetri Martin

Self-Deprecating

Self-deprecating humor makes fun of yourself. This requires social strength, confidence and resilience to pull off as some people will take you seriously. In some cultures, such as British culture, self-deprecating humor is common and most people will get it.
I have good looking kids. Thank goodness my wife cheats on me.
~ Rodney Dangerfield
I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.
~ Groucho Marx
Looking at my face is like reading in the car. It's all right for 10 minutes, then you start to feel sick.
~ Andrew Lawrence
It wasn't that no one asked me to the prom, it was that no one would tell me where it was.
~ Rita Rudner
Thomas Jefferson once said, "We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works." And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.
~ President Ronald Regan

Dry Humor

Humor that is delivered seriously such that it is apparently unintentional.
If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?
We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.
~ Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts
If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.
~ President Abraham Lincoln
Tact: the ability to describe others as they see themselves.
~ President Abraham Lincoln
Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.
~ Winston Churchill
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
~ Winston Churchill
We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.
~ Winston Churchill
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate.
And I can picture us attacking that world because they'd never expect it.
~ Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts

Deadpan

Deadpan is dry humor that isn't funny but is funny in the context of its delivery because the audience is expecting something funny and when it doesn't arrive -- an awkward tension lies in the air. This is perhaps the most difficult comedy to deliver and tends to get respect from comedians and others who appreciate comedy.
I guess we were kinda poor when we were kids, but we didn't know it. That's because my dad always refused to let us look at the family's financial records.
~ Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts
Hermits have no peer pressure.
~ Steven Wright
If you go through a lot of hammers each month, I don't think it necessarily means you're a hard worker. It may just mean that you have a lot to learn about proper hammer maintenance.
~ Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts

Ineptitude

Pretending that you don't understand something that is obvious to your audience.
Boy, those French, they have a different word for everything!
~ Steve Martin
I must confess, I was born at a very early age.
~ Groucho Marx
My girlfriend and I went to a dinner party the other night and we ended up playing charades. There was another couple there that was deaf. They were so good.
~ Zach Galifianakis

Verbal Irony

Verbal irony is seemingly paradoxical or contrary to expectations.
Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the war room.
~ Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
~ Groucho Marx
I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer.
~ Douglas Adams
Before I speak, I have something important to say.
~ Groucho Marx

Inside Jokes

An inside joke is humor that requires some background information. For example, familiarity with a culture, sport, hobby, pastime, organization, nation, profession or group.
Boxing is a more sophisticated form of hockey.
~ George Carlin
All the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911.
~ Lewis Black
You're probably aware that Britain stopped evolving gastronomically around the year 1242.
~ John Oliver

Slapstick

Slapstick is physical humor that often involves absurd incompetence.
It's always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it's just hilarious.
~ Bill Hicks

Surprise

Get people to anticipate what you are going to say and then surprise them.
I come from a very big family... nine parents.
~ Jim Gaffigan
The operation was a success, but I'm afraid the doctor is dead.
~ Steve Martin
In Scotland the forbidden fruit is fruit.
~ Gary Delaney
I got kicked out of ballet class because I pulled a groin muscle. It wasn't mine.
~ Rita Rudner
If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying."
And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."
~ Jack Handey, Deep Thoughts
Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.
~ Steven Wright

Absurdity

The extremely random, slightly illogical or overly obvious.
Some jokes are short and elegant, like a mathematical proof or a midget in a ball-gown.
~ Demetri Martin
When you have a fat friend there are no see-saws, only catapults.
~ Demetri Martin
I can whistle with my fingers, especially if I have a whistle.
~ Mitch Hedberg
I wear a necklace, cause I wanna know when I'm upside down.
~ Mitch Hedberg
If carrots got you drunk, rabbits would be messed-up.
~ Mitch Hedberg
The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I'll never be as good as a wall.
~ Mitch Hedberg

Black Comedy

Humor that touches on a serious problem.
It would be kinda embarrassing trying to explain what an appetizer is to someone from a starving country though. "Yeah the appetizer, that's the food we eat before we have our food...No no you're thinking of dessert, that's food we eat after we have our food.
~ Jim Gaffigan
What's a pirate minus the ship? Just a creative homeless guy.
~ Bo Burnham
A guy said to me, “There’s only 10 snow geese left in the world.” I said, “One shits on my car, there’ll be 9.”
~ Buddy Hackett
The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades.
~ Demetri Martin
They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I'm going to miss mine by just a few days.
~ Garrison Keillor

Non-sequitur

Matching two things that don't match.
If you've got a dollar and you spend 29 cents on a loaf of bread, you've got 71 cents left; But if you've got seventeen grand and you spend 29 cents on a loaf of bread, you've still got seventeen grand. There's a math lesson for you.
~ Steve Martin
Women are like puzzles because prior to 1920 neither had the right to vote. Puzzles still don't.
~ Bo Burnham

Understatement

Understating a truth.
The report of my death was an exaggeration.
~ Mark Twain
I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long.
~ Mitch Hedberg

Rephrasing

Rephrasing a well known truism.
If at first you don't succeed then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
~ Steven Wright
It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.
~ Jack Handey, Deep Thoughts

Word Play

Humor based on multiple meanings of words and phrases.
I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time" So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.
~ Steven Wright
Was Einstein's theory good? Relatively.
~ Bo Burnham

Cruel Wit

Insulting or arguing with others in an intelligent way.
I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
~ Mark Twain
Don't interrupt me while I'm interrupting.
~ Winston Churchill
I never forget a face—but in your case, I’ll be glad to make an exception.
~ Groucho Marx
My wife said to me, "I want to be cremated." I said, "How about Tuesday?"
~ Buddy Hackett

Satire

Humor that makes a serious point. Satire is considered a critical element of freedom of speech that often points out absurdities in areas such as politics, ideology, society and culture.
Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America.
~ James Joyce
There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good.
~ Stephen Colbert
Campaign ads are the backbone of American democracy -- if American democracy suffered a gigantic spinal injury.
~ John Oliver
Economics is like the Dutch language -- I'm told it makes sense but I have my doubts.
~ John Oliver

Notes

Humor is a lighthearted celebration of absurdity, awkwardness and darkness that acts as a relief from the stark seriousness of life. This is often language and culture specific and doesn't translate well. Despite this, people who can't even speak the same language are often able to enjoy a shared joke. Humor is recognized as a potent social skill that may allow an individual to outperform those who are confined to seriousness in a wide range of situations. Humor is commonly used in advertising, public speaking, debate, negotiation, networking, relationship building, influencing and social situations such as romance, friendship and comradery. It is risky to tell a joke and this signals social strength. Self-deprecating humor is a means of countersignaling strength. Humor grabs the attention and wakes people up where dry information fails.
More about humor:
Antihumor
Storytelling
Callback
Cruel Wit
Dry Humor
Improvisation
Inside Jokes
Kairos
Non Sequitur
Peak-End Rule
Sarcasm
Satire
Slice Of Life
Verbal Irony
Wit
More ...
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