Why do farts never cease to be funny?

If you want to make someone laugh, then farts are a reliable source. Especially children can’t get enough of it.

Both the act itself and jokes about flatulence always seem to score. To my knowledge, there is no better way to generate so much pleasure with so little effort.

The fart and its mythical status

That's strange, isn't it? A fart is a normal action of the human body. It isn't more exceptional than breathing or sneezing. Yet for thousands of years and everywhere in the world, the fart has made people laugh. The oldest known joke is actually a fart joke, and goes as follows:

Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.

It suggests that the Sumerians, who lived in what is now southern Iraq, loved a portion of toilet humor.

Even for the great William Shakespeare, the fart was a welcome guest:

A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind. Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind.

It seems like until today, the fart has lost none of its mythical status. Fathers and funny uncles know that all too well.

Why do farts never cease to be funny?

The only correct answer is that we don't know. Scientists have already explored all quarters of humor, but none came up with the idea of studying our fascination with toilet humor. James Spiegel, a philosophy professor at the American Taylor University, recently do made an attempt. He relied on existing humor research and applied that to fart humor.

The research distinguishes three important explanations of why we laugh at something.

  • Firstly, we laugh when a quote or incident let you experience the exhilarating feeling of superiority. That is why we laugh when someone gets a cake in their face or slipped on a banana peel.
  • In addition, we laugh with things that deviate from what we expect. A woman with a beard, for example, or a talking dog.
  • Finally, we use our laughter to relieve tension around taboos. Think of jokes about women, minorities or believers.

According to Spiegel, the fart complies with these three forms of humor and is therefore irresistibly funny. Although Spiegel finds that statement itself to be inadequate. A fart joke is so unique, universal and timeless that it must be deeply anchored in our brain.

The mystery can only really be solved if neuroscientists dare to push people under a brain scanner and let them hear random funny fart sounds for 10 minutes. But we already do know this: passing gas will always remain funny.

Source: Why flatulence is funny by James S. Spiegel

#funny #humor #history #culture