So there are these two muffins baking in an oven.
One of them yells, “Wow, it’s hot in here!”
And the other muffin replies: “Holy sh*t! A talking muffin!”
I think it's pretty darn hilarious.
Tuesday's New York Times, however, has an article discussing laughter and the muffin joke, which the author, a Mr. John Tierney, rather haughtily disparages as NOT funny and states that "most laughter has little to do with humor," but is merely a social lubricant.
Occasionally we’re surprised into laughing at something funny, but most laughter has little to do with humor. It’s an instinctual survival tool for social animals, not an intellectual response to wit. It’s not about getting the joke. It’s about getting along.
Thus, the article contends that the only reason anyone could laugh at or find the muffin joke to be funny is for purposes of "getting along" and that laughter arises or is particularly useful in social situations involving a disparate power dynamic, i.e., it occurs more typically in a situation in which social inferiors are responding to social superiors, rather than between colleagues.
As evidence of the assertion that laughter is just a social lubricant, and not a response to humor, the article states that when the speaker ("a lowly graduate student") was telling the muffin joke to his undergraduate class, the response was laughter, but when talking to a conference of (more prominent) neuroscientists, he got nothing.
Well, okay. But has anyone, in the entire history of the human race, ever said, "Oh boy! A conference of neuroscientists! That'll be a barrel of laughs!"