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Incongruity theory



In my class ENGL 271: Contemporary Rhetoric, the Rhetoric of Stand-up Comedy, I learned that there is a theory of humour (yes, even comedy has theories) called the incongruity theory. Basically, it states that we find it funny when things, people, or situations don’t fit into the norm or don’t act as we expect them to. If this theory is true, we live in a hilarious world. Incongruity is everywhere. Environmental essays handed in, as required, on single-sided, double-spaced paper. Triple O’s offering breakfast from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Easter eggs delivered by a bunny. (Rabbits do not produce eggs.) The judicial independence of the attorney general’s office. The dignity of the office of the president of the United States of America. Yes, incongruity is everywhere. In light of this, I have to ask myself, “Why am I not laughing?”

Image: Robert Sweeney/The Cascade

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