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If you are a content creator, being versatile with your vocabulary is essential, and one of the best ways to connect with your readers is through various types of humor.
However, while many people can readily identify at least a few common kinds of humor, there are potentially dozens of different types of humor that you can incorporate into your content.
Not only does humor give you a great way to grab your readers’ attention at crucial points, but it helps you build a closer emotional bond with them. That bond is the foundation of many popular brands.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at why humor is needed, and several different types of humor that exist. We’ll also examine how incorporating one or two (or more!) kinds of humor can be used to spice up your writing.
If you’d rather jump straight to the types of humor, and bypass the reasons to use it, click here.
Why Is Humor Necessary in Content?
Calling it “necessary” is perhaps a personal opinion. It’s not strictly necessary to include any of these types of humor in your content, but we think it’s a good idea.
No matter what type of content you’re aiming to create, or what the subject of your blog or website is, you can easily integrate a sense of humor in some way, even if it’s just once or twice per post.
Here’s why you should include even one or two types of humor in your content:
Humor is helpful when it comes to engaging your audience. It can help enhance your overall brand effectiveness as well. Even posts dealing with some of the most boring or dry niche material can benefit from humor, particularly humor that uses jokes that only that niche or those familiar with it can appreciate.
Humor helps connect you to your audience, and that level of connection is one of the most important factors when building your brand and creating your content.
Consider various commercials that make you laugh.
Whether it’s the character mayhem from Allstate randomly destroying private property to sell property insurance, or the frogs “ribbeting” Bud – Weis – er to convince you to drink a bottle of Bud, those brands certainly have a knack for capturing the audience’s attention.
When you can make someone laugh, you can connect with them on an emotional and memorable level. Then, you can later leverage that connection to build loyalty and eventually make money.
Breaking Up Your Sea of Content
Another way that humor can be used effectively is on content that is dry or otherwise poorly structured for presentation. This can happen a lot with subject matter that is highly serious or even technical. I’m looking at you, dental and medical blogs.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but technical, educational, or informative writing doesn’t have to come across as dry and boring.
Spicing up traditionally dull content can be a great opportunity to connect with an enormous group of people that aren’t used to seeing a humorous connection in their content niche.
Using humor can also be a great way to segue into another topic or discussion. Humorous introductions into a subject, like a funny anecdote, can offer significant background information or setup.
Sometimes, clever use of humorous anecdotes or stories can provide a great deal of useful exposition that would be challenging or even awkward to work into the content in another way.
Relatability to Audience
One of the most significant challenges with dealing with people digitally, such as on social media or in blog posts, is that it lacks a significant human connection factor.
A funny personal story, for example, makes it much easier to imagine you’re reading something written by a real human, which gives the content far more value than the average blog post.
There are many humorous experiences that we have in our lives, and having those in common can bring a very human element to the writing.
Putting yourself in the shoes of the reader can also tell you where they may be feeling apprehension, anxiety, or even frustration.
This is where you can leverage your humor with the most significant emotional effect, by not only using humor to relieve some tension or alleviate concerns but also to help lighten the mood while still being informative.
Another benefit of using multiple types of humor in your blog is that your readers are far more likely to share your content than with other types of presentations.
This can even mean that making the right piece of content, with the perfect type of humor in it, can get your content shared on a viral level.
Generating viral content is always a huge plus because driving traffic to your content is already hard enough as it is.
You Will Be Remembered More Often
A huge factor in brand success is when the content is easy to recall. You want your brand to be the one that people think of when they think about whatever it is that you offer.
Think about this – when you think of car insurance, you might be likely to think of the Geico Gekko. Why? Well, his commercials are typically humorous!
Our brains are literally designed to seek out other people who may find the information we have, to be amusing, interesting, or useful.
Science Direct even posted a study that demonstrated a link between humorous content and higher recall of a message.
Bottom line: Making your content funny can make it much easier to remember for your target audience.
Even readers who aren’t in a happy mood, and may be classified as “grumpy” or “neutral” can experience higher levels of content retention when humor is used.
Teaching and Learning Come Easier
Let’s face it, educational material, while absolutely necessary in an intelligent and civilized society, can also be incredibly dry to those who aren’t completely enthralled or passionate about the material.
When leveraged properly, humor can make the materials and subject matter much easier to learn, as well as to teach.
If your niche is a technical or educational one, integrating humor into your content can make the material much more accessible to your audience.
30 Different Types Of Humor
Now that you have a firm grip on the importance of injecting a sense of humor into your blogs, let’s get to what we promised you – our list of several types of humor you can use.
While we’ve tried to make this list comprehensive, to make it exhaustive would be nearly impossible.
Instead, here you should find the most common types of humor, as well as other types that are different subtypes of a particular overarching humor type.
For example, witty would be one type of humor that encompasses so many other kinds of humor.
Absurdism or surreal humor often has elements of surrealism and absurdity, and often a degree of incongruity.
This results in jokes that swap logical for illogical thinking, and often ridiculous premises or punchlines.
The most popular example of this type of humor is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Other examples include movies like Wayne’s World, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and The Hangover.
2. Affiliative Humor
Affiliative humor is humor that is used to better the relationships between people just meeting, or possibly in the workplace.
It is an amusing and often positive type of humor that is used to help create conversations and lower levels of tension or anxiety that are potentially being experienced.
Late-night talk show hosts and other similar personalities often used affiliative humor when greeting or talking to guests on the show.
3. Anecdotal Humor
Creating humor through the use of an anecdote, either fictional or real, that is told with intense attention to detail and characterization.
An anecdote is always told in the manner of a person recalling events that happened to them directly, even if the story is fictional.
For example, “When I was your age, we had to walk five miles in the snow, uphill, with our books in tow. We didn’t even have bookbags! We’d bundle up in our jackets and snow boots, and…” You get the idea…
Possibly one of the most challenging types of humor to grasp is anti-humor, which is an indirect and highly alternative type of humor that involves the joke-teller delivering something that starts as a joke but has an unfunny punchline.
An example would be asking “What did one Korean man say to the other?”, and delivering the admittedly unfunny answer of “I don’t know, I can’t speak Korean.”
Womp. Womp. Womp…
5. Blue Humor
Blue humor also known as off-color humor, evolved from the performance of the risque, and is named after the so-called “blue laws” of the 18th century.
It leans heavily on the comedic influence of indecency to create comedy. It is often marked by coarse jokes, sexual innuendo, and sexual situations.
Comedians Bob Saget and Chelsea Handler are two famous comedians that have told what would be considered “blue humor” jokes.
Burlesque is a type of humor that caricatures or parodies more serious works. Burlesque will often involve music or theater, but it can treat art and literature with the same carefree and nonsensical attitude as the rest of conventional burlesque humor subjects.
These humorous occasions are often outright funny, but they are also witty or clever takes on well-known works.
This is one of the types of humor that we all love to hate. Cringe humor makes light of those moments in our life where we are simply the embodiment of awkward cringe.
These are moments we can all relate to on some level, and make a highly effective storytelling tool. Perhaps the most famous examples of cringe humor are found in TV shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation.
8. Dark Humor
Dark humor is one of humanity’s greatest coping mechanisms and consists of any joke that makes light of tragedy or pain. This is also sometimes known as “gallows humor”, and can be a cathartic way to work through personal pain, sadness, or loss.
Dark humor can be upsetting for some. Comedians Ricky Gervais and Lewis Black are both often considered dark-humor comedians.
Deadpan delivery, also known as deadpan humor or dry humor, is just about anything that is delivered with an emotionless, neutral voice.
In many ways, deadpan humor is difficult, because the jokes are very obvious and often very funny, but delivering them with a straight face can be challenging.
The best example would be the movie, Napolean Dynamite.
Epigrams are witting sayings or quips, and while many are humorous, epigrammatic speech isn’t limited to humor and can be serious, stoic, or even dire. They are always concise, witty, clever, and short.
They are often used to highlight paradoxes, or in some cases a satirical view. Maxims, aphorisms, and other insightful and succinct statements are also considered epigrams.
An example of this type of humor would be the quote by Groucho Marx, “I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.”
11. Heritage Humor
Heritage humor is a kind of humor where people of a particular culture discuss the various traits, myths, or even stereotypes of their culture in a playful or humorous way. This is something that is often misunderstood, in that it cannot be practiced by someone outside of a particular culture, in which case it can be taken as aggressive or hurtful.
Some examples of heritage humor include Jerry Seinfeld, who has been known to incorporate heritage humor about his Jewish heritage, Kenny Sebastian performing material in reference to his Tamil heritage, and many First Nation and Native American people making memes about aspects of their culture such as reservation life.
Highbrow humor is humor that often revolves around subjects of higher education and literacy, such as classical literature or music, history, and politics.
Highbrow humor often requires significant intelligence to grasp and fully appreciate.
The television show Frasier was built upon highbrow humor often delivered in a dry fashion.
Hyperbole is a type of humor that uses deliberately unrealistically exaggerated speech as the source of the comedy.
Saying that traffic was moving slower than molasses in January is an example of hyperbole. Two additional examples are “old as dirt,” and “so hungry I could eat an elephant.”
Hyperbole is always recognized by the extreme level of obvious exaggeration.
Improvisational humor, often shortened to “improv” is a type of humor or comedy that creates situations and dialogue without the aid of a script or any significant planning.
When participating in improv, the participants will often be given their act or performance guidelines by the host or audience and will need to create their performance on the spot.
This is the premise behind one of the greatest improv comedy shows of all time, Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Improv is more common in the comment section of a blog because you have to be quick on your toes. It is a type of humor that relies heavily on wit and quick thinking and can be incredibly entertaining.
15. Inside Jokes
Inside jokes are jokes known only to a small group of people, sometimes as few as two individuals, who were present when the original joke happened and understand the humor behind a reference to that joke.
For instance, if you are a member of a tabletop gaming group that has a particularly rowdy adventure one week, jokes that were made during that session would likely only be understood by the other people who were in attendance.
Anyone else wouldn’t get the reference and would need it to be explained. Inside jokes are often the backstory to “you just had to be there” jokes or stories.
These can be incredibly engaging and great for community building with a blog. People who read your blog will “get the joke” because they are regular readers.
16. Internet Humor
Internet humor is what happens when certain things are shared enough that they become viral, sometimes they are often able to become memes as well.
Memes are the most common type of internet humor. These are the jokes, pictures, or text-on-background posts that blow up in popularity and become a sort of neologism or other common references.
Memes can be found on every social platform, including Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and more.
17. Ironic Humor
Ironic humor relies on a distinct contrast between the words of the speaker and the actual meaning being conveyed.
An example of this would be McDonald’s restaurants opening at hospitals when it is generally considered unhealthy food doctors don’t want people eating.
Lowbrow humor is humor that many people find offensive or crude, such as toilet humor.
While many people dismiss it, it can take significant skill to write jokes that are offensive or tasteless but don’t punch down at any particular group of people.
Movies like Billy Madison, Superbad, Knocked Up, Wedding Crashers, and the Austin Powers franchise would all be considered lowbrow humor.
19. Mordant Humor
Mordant humor is a type of humor that is biting and cruel, but often intensely funny for those who aren’t the target of the jokes.
Mordant humor is designed to cruelly mock someone or something and can be incredibly unkind.
There are several exchanges that would qualify as mordant humor in the show Arrested Development, anytime the Bluth family matriarch and her daughter begin insulting each other.
20. Observational Humor
Observational humor is often based on observations made by clever individuals about our daily life or society. This is found in stand-up routines, sketch comedy skits, and even sitcoms, to provide commentary on our world and life.
Famous examples of observational humor include Ray Romano, George Carlin, and Iliza Shlesinger.
21. Paraprosdokian Humor
A paraprosdokian is a term that comes from the Greek word for “against expectations”.
The term is used to describe a two-part statement, with a seemingly-conventional beginning, and an ending that twists the meaning or context of the first part.
This form of humor is responsible for some of the most intelligent and hilarious one-liners in history.
One famous example is from horror legend Stephen King, who once said “I have the heart of a small boy, in a glass jar on my desk.”
22. Physical Humor
Physical humor is also known as slapstick and revolves around characters that use highly exaggerated movements and emotional expressions.
Charlie Chaplin trying to pick up his hat, but kicking it away from himself every time he tries to pick it up is a classic example of physical humor.
Another more modern example would be Jim Carrey. He is known for using his body to add to the humor of a moment – i.e. putting on a wooden mask and transforming into the cartoon-like character in the movie The Mask.
Satire is a form of humor that makes fun of human flaws or even vices and is often delivered in a deadpan way, under the guise of being serious. A historical example would be the pamphlet A Modest Proposal, while outlets like The Onion and Babylon Bee keep the satire fires burning in the digital age.
Self-deprecating humor is humor used to poke fun at the expense of the joke teller. This is often used in situations where someone needs an icebreaker, or where they are anxious and using it as a deflection tactic.
An example of this would be: I can’t dance. But can I sing? Also no.
Self-enhancing humor is when humor is used to increase the happiness of the joke teller and their audience. It is often used to help maintain perspective when facing adversity.
One example would be: I like to stay positive. Instead of saying I fell down the steps, I say I got downstairs really fast.
Spoofing is similar to parody, but is a more broad definition, and can encompass an entire genre of art.
This is easily illustrated in the horror movie industry; a single movie can have a parody, but the entire genre of horror films, for example, are spoofed in the Scary Movie franchise.
The Spanish novel The Adventures Of Don Quixote is a spoof of that period’s romance novels.
27. Toilet Humor
Toilet humor, sometimes called bathroom humor, is considered low-hanging fruit by many, but easy laughs for others. The most common toilet humor jokes or routines revolve around poop, farts, and other things that very young children often find hilarious.
28. Topical Humor
Topical humor is humor related to current events and can be difficult to integrate into evergreen content. For example, jokes related to a current recession will only make sense when another recession hits.
29. Witty Humor
Witty humor is clever and often delivered with a dry or deadpan delivery, leading to more intellectual engagement with the reader. Many of the exchanges between the titular character and others in the TV show Frasier were examples of witty banter.
Wordplay is a very common way to engage readers with humor, and wordplay also encompasses a wide range of joke styles. Wordplay relies on words that have multiple meanings, or sometimes homophones, to create humor. Common wordplay devices include puns, double entendres, and even metaphors.
We can almost hear Bart Simpson saying, “Is your refrigerator running? Then you better go catch it!”
Go Forth and Be Humorous!
While it may feel difficult in the beginning, as you start getting more comfortable playing with the different types of humor, we think you will find it’s a lot of fun to inject humor into your posts.
To parody a Will Smith song lyric – Get witty with it!