I'm not entirely sure what kind of person it makes you when you find some lines such as this amusing: "Stephen shook his head and smiled in his rival's flushed and mobile face, beaked like a bird's. He had often thought it strange that Vincent Heron had a bird's face as well as a bird's name." (Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 1916). I'll be reading on the bus and, straight-faced, in between rushed stops and bumps on the road, carefully write a little note in the margine: "Ha."
How far has your sense of humour flown out window when you laugh aloud at a close up of a Dalmatian mouse on the floor of the Tenenbaum household? It's hilarious because Chas Tenenbaum invented them when he was a kid and they're still around! Get it? Ho ho ho! It's funny, right?
Save for the French. I don't really take to their love of puns.
I do respect their efforts, however, to make us take pause before the punch. Too often are we fed our humour. I'm sick of laugh tracks on the latest ABC citcom, the amazed gaffaw at the perverse stand-up commedian. No, I've got too much class. Let's all have a good chuckle now at one of my favorite kings of comedy....
Hamlet: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia: No, my lord.
Hamlet: I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ophelia: Ay, my lord.
Hamlet: Do you think I meant country matters?
(Shakespeare, Hamlet, III, ii)