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Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor (New Directions in Aesthetics, No. 9) Hardcover – September 28, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1405196123 ISBN-10: 1405196122 Edition: 1st

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Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor (New Directions in Aesthetics, No. 9) + The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1st edition (September 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405196122
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405196123
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"As an intelligent treatment of what humor is and what it means, this work raises significant questions and proposes plausible answers." (CHOICE, September 2010)

Review

"Of all of the humor scholars I know, John Morreall is the best at making original, fascinating, and useful observations. We should all be grateful that in Comic Relief he has once more demonstrated--in his witty and accessible style--that the play ethic is as important as the work ethic."
Don L. F. Nilsen, International Society for Humor Studies

"Comic Relief is an engaging, wide-ranging discussion of how humor is defined within the disciplines of philosophy and history, as well as a brilliant and comprehensive overview of how it is used today. This book is a superb addition to the body of genuinely important works on humor."
Regina Barreca, University of Connecticut


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tony Zhang on February 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book of Professor Morreall's is a great read. His theory and basic pattern in humor--The playful enjoyment of a cognitive shift is expressed in laughter--is more realistic than conventional superiority, incongruity and relief theories.

In this great book, Professor Morreall explored many of the benefits of humor. In Chapter 3, we saw how its emotional disengagement promotes rationallity and mental flexibility. The contrast of comedy with tragedy in Chapter 4 showed how comedy fosters a more rational, critical, and creative attidude that serves us better in the modern world. It makes us sensitive to the complexity of life; it enhances our ability to deal with novelty and disorder, and it chanllges elitism, militarism, and sexism. In Chapter 6, he examined some intellectural and moral virtues promoted by humor: open-mindedness, divergent thinking, critical thinking, self-transcedence, honesty with oneself, patience, tolerance, graciousness, humility, perseverance, and courage. Then in Chapter 7, he compared humor to philosophy in promoting a curious, imaginative, critical atttude in which we see our lives in perspective.

Enjoy reading!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian on November 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A friend recommended this book so I thought I'd check it out--I'm really interested in humor and jokes but it's hard to find a satisfactory, richly developed theory of laughter. Plenty of people have tried, and the first chapters, which exhaustively list various thinkers' attempts to theorize laughter throughout history and also point out their flaws and shortcomings, are very useful and illuminating. But John Morreall doesn't offer a theory to outdo them. It seems like he's mainly restating the obvious parts of other thinkers' work (he says in the intro that he's a public speaker and consultant who gives talks to corporate meetings about humor--and the way he writes and thinks seems better suited to that kind of work than producing the "comprehensive philosophy" that the title promises). Maybe I wasn't reading close enough into his ideas, but I really lost interest when he spent several pages trying to explain why a rape joke isn't offensive.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Nikolaus on July 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've often wondered what makes us laugh. This book will give me some insights into what makes us tick and why we laugh at some things and frown at others.
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