The boys over at Writing Excuses were podcasting the other day about humor. Lots of different kinds. And I found it, for lack of a better word, funny. Though I always get a good chuckle out of their podcasts, no matter what they talk about. They just tickle me.
Anyway, one of the types of humor that they discussed was non sequitur humor. (something that doesn’t follow in the expected sequence).
For an example of non sequitur humor they suggested “go ask a five-year-old to tell a joke”. And suddenly the recent antics at my dinner table made a lot more sense.
Lately my three-year-old has been consumed with telling jokes. Or at least he thinks they’re jokes. To be honest, we’re all getting a little tired of doing the fake laugh. Yet teaching him how to tell a joke goes over his head at this age because, as the guys at Writing Excuses point out, *funny* to a child of this age = something that doesn’t make sense.
And that’s when it clicked with me. Not only do all adult jokes *not* make sense to him, but even simple children’s jokes don’t make sense to him. And the process of explaining why the joke *is* funny and what makes it funny, is pointless. To him, all jokes are non sequitur humor, whether they actually are or not.
All of this explains two things about my son. The first is: why actual non sequitur humor makes him burst into giggles (like the kind of joke set up where there’s a list of rational, related items followed by an abstract word that has nothing to do with anything).
And the second thing it explains is why, when he tries to tell a joke, the punch line is always “hot dog”.
No matter what the set up.