Internet Humor: An Introduction to Humor


For years I have been a passive consumer of the comedy produced specifically for distribution on the Internet. No longer content to merely laugh at every captioned cat that comes my way, this summer I will combine my recently acquired knowledge on the theories of humor and my experience on the Internet. Get ready for a deluge of lolcats, memes, viral videos, and (almost) scholarly articles.

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Internet Humor: What it is and why it’s funny [Abstract]

Since the spread of the Internet, users have created a new culture through the collaborative endeavours of blogs, forums, and email. Users are no longer mere consumers: they increasingly have the power to create and distribute creative projects in greater volumes and at lesser cost. Much of these creations can be described as humorous; but why? In the real world, what makes us laugh can be categorized using certain theories, and scholars have devoted much time to explaining humor. Internet humor, as exemplified by the lolcat, is a distinguishing feature of Internet culture and truly different from any forms of humor already in existence. Why, then, do videos of remixed soundbites and laughing babies leave us in hysterics? I will explore various forms of Internet humor, including the meme, the image macro, and the viral video and analyze how the major theories of humor would explain their comedic qualities. Many examples will be assessed.