Comedy and humor’s role in society is very important. Special power of comedy and humor in organization of human life in society was noticed in the ancient world. Some Latin expressions, which are still topical, clearly determine the role of these phenomena: “Laughter corrects manners”, “What is made funny will never be terrible”. Humor is present in all life spheres of society. Humor’s role as a form of communication increases in conditions of globalization, which approves the value of tolerance, participation, solidarity, and creativity.
The exploration of this phenomenon is actual both in theoretical and practical aspects. Although humor attracts scientists since ancient times, there is no single interpretation of its nature and content till nowadays, and structural features of the functioning of humor are still not studied enough. Questions about the features, nature, and role of humor in society as well as those about opening the possibility of general rules of its genesis are controversial among the social philosophers, sociologists, philosophers, psychologists, and linguists.
Recent years are marked with the splash of interest to practical use of humor. The most attention is paid to questions on its use in socialization, education, management, and advertizing. Humor can be: a weapon, means of attack (a joke), means of establishing contact and communication (joke, humoresque, feuilleton); a teacher, who tries to explain the ‘eternal truths’ and moral norms (proverbs, comedy); a shield, which can be used to hide their attitude, opinion, and feelings where it is needed (an anecdote). ( All of these situations caused by the humor may be accompanied by different variants of laughter. As a consequence, humor promotes individual behavior changes.
The importance of humor for emotional health
Sociologists have found that the average American laughs 15 times a day. Humor helps to cope with problems and to survive in hard times. For example, after the explosion of the spacecraft, there appeared jokes on this topic. Now there are jokes about terrorists. Humor has always been and will be. People will always laugh at others and themselves. “Theorist Martin Armstrong, who wrote about the function of laughter in society, may have said it best when he wrote, “For a few moments, under the spell of laughter, the whole man is completely and gloriously alive: body, mind and soul vibrate in unison… the mind flings open its doors and windows… its foul and secret places are ventilated and sweetened.” “ (Force 1).
Humor – one of the various means of conflict prevention
The presence of this feeling is one of the evidences of the spiritual health of a person, his optimistic view of the world and people. Humor is sometimes defined as “a conciliatory smile”; it is a person’s ability to cooperate and to reconcile the seemingly incompatible and irreconcilable: the good and the bad, the sublime and the small, the serious and the funny. As an effective tool for successful life of people together, the humor helps to decrease the tension in human relations; it is a good way to turn tense situation in positive feelings. Sigmund Freud taught that humor reduces the contradictions and prevents dissatisfaction. George Bernard Shaw said that sometimes you have to amuse people to distract them from their desire to hang you. Of course, nobody can hope to fully resolve the conflict using only a “conciliatory smile,” but it is quite possible to weaken the sharpness with good jokes. Humor brings people together; even when it seems that there is no hope of reconciliation. This happens because people can find commonalities with the help of humor, common understanding of humor by all the people.
“The ability to understand humor as an important positive quality of the individual is one of the components of person’s prestige.”(Ruch 113). Of course, this tool should be used keeping a sense of proportion. That means that only short-term improvements of positive activity of people can be achieved with the help of humor. It is important not to turn all the communications and affairs in a joke. The humor also participates in formation of person’s character. The sense of humor appears in early childhood under the influence of environment, anecdotes, and others. Lack of preconditions for its development leads to the formation of a straight character; a person with such an extreme personality type may have problems with social adaptation.
The importance of humor for formation of self-esteem and mental attitude
Humor is not only involved in the processes of socialization but also in the formation of self-esteem and mental attitude of the individual. Through these three aspects of personality formation, humor affects all individual’s development. That is why humoristic program, jokes, funny stories, comedies are so popular. Humor increases a person’s ability to explore the world (the main feature of a good sense of humor is the ability to find the comic in the everyday life); it creates an optimistic view of themselves and surroundings, helping to cope with difficult life situations. Therefore, the ability to joke and laugh at a good joke is so well appreciated in today’s world.
Self-esteem is one of the main features of the individual. The influence of humor on self-esteem is undeniable. A person who has learned how to avoid the uncomfortable situations with the help of a smile laughs at himself and hence strengthens the self-esteem. “Mental attitude is the internal mental self-feeling. When the mental attitude of a person is optimistic and aimed at success, it is likely that such a person will be able to express himself well in the activities.”(Ruch 124). However, it does not mean that a person with less optimistic mental attitude is doomed to failure, although he expects it. The person with the first type of mental attitude clearly has an advantage over the second type. A person also needs to practice patience so as to achieve success in the activities. In this sphere, humor also plays an important role. It helps to turn the mood into optimistic one and to meet all the situations with a smile, even if the battle is lost.
It is difficult to imagine the personality who exists separately from the society. As noted above, humor and laughter are often social in nature. The joke loses its meaning if it is no one to listen and understand. Therefore, we can say that using humor, one wants not only to show the absurdity of some event or situation, but above all, one wants to get laugh, positive reactions from others. Therefore, a person with a good sense of humor is rarely alone. The joke, comedy and laughter are the immediate assistants in communications. Thus, taking everything above mentioned into consideration, we can make a conclusion that the role of comedy and humor is very important.