Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Humour Hour


BLUNTING: Blunting is an ancient device which was employed in classical Greek dramas as a technique in humour. The specialty of Blunting lies in the fact that it pretends to dull the edge of dire news while actually sharpening it. In Blunting, a gentle preparation is built up for a coming calamitous announcement. The effect is the reverse of intention. The following is an illustration:
A rich man was asked to go to countryside for convalescence by his doctor for a much needed rest. While away, he was to receive no communication from home. He returned from the vacation much better and was very anxious for some news from the home front. At the railway station he was met by his chauffer and the following conversation took place:
“Well, John, how is everything about the place? Has anything happened since I left?”
“No, nothing happened. Everything is just the same”
“Well, tell me at least something, no matter how trivial it may be”
“Nothing really happened except one little thing. When you were away, your dog died”
“My dog died! What killed him?”
“He died by eating burnt horse flesh”
“Burnt horse flesh? Where did he get that?”
“You see, your stable got burnt, the dog got in there and ate some burnt horse flesh and that is what killed him”
“My stable burnt down! How did that happen?”
“The sparks from the house blew over and fell on the roof of the stable and it caught fire. Some of the horses inside the stable got burnt. The dog got in there and ate the burnt flesh and that killed him”
“Sparks from the house? Did my house burn too?”
“Yes, that is also burnt”
“How did the house get on fire?”
“The candles were burning and the curtains got fire and burnt down the house”
“Candles in my house! But we use only electricity and gas. Where did the candles come from?”
“The candles were burning around the coffin”
“Coffin? Who is dead?”
“That is another small thing I forgot to tell you. Your mother-in-law died”
“My mother-in-law died? How did she die?”
“They are not sure of the cause. However, the neighborhood gossips that she died from the shock of your wife running away with her chauffer. But beyond that there is no news”

CHAIN HUMOUR: Chain Humour is a type of humour in English language which is based on a series of statements joined together in the form of a circular link. The humour lies not in the statements themselves but in their sequential relations. The height of the humour is touched when the first and last statements establish close link. For example:
Albert Einstein, Nobel Laureate, was once asked to explain the Theory of Relativity in words easily understood by a layman. “Well” said Einstein “I was once walking in the country with a blind friend of mine. The day was too hot and I said I would love a nice cool drink of milk”.

“Milk!” asked my friend. “Drink I understand. But what is milk?”
“A white liquid” I said
“Liquid I understand. But what is white?”
:” The colour of a swan’s feather”
“Feather I understand. But what is a swan?”
“A bird with a crooked neck”
“Neck I understand. But what is crooked?”
At this point, I gently took his arm and straightened it. “That is straight” I said. Then I bent it at the elbow and said: That is crooked.”
“Oh!” exclaimed my blind friend “Now I understand what you mean by MILK”

IRISH BULL: An Irish Bull is a ludicrous blunder of language committed in a hurry to arrive at a speedy conclusion, oblivious of the meaning. The origin is traced to Ireland.
Early in the 20th century a small town in Pennsylvania had a disastrous fire which could not be controlled because the fire plugs were frozen. The City Council met in an urgent meeting to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such a catastrophe. After hours of hot debate, one man jumped on his feet and shouted “I move that the fire plugs should be tested before every fire and set right” In a flash, another member seconded the motion and the resolution was passed.

REPARTEE: Repartee is a branch of humour that covers clever and spontaneous replies and retorts. Examples:
1. Kinsey, the well-known sexologist, was once lecturing on his favourite subject to a mixed audience. At the end of the talk, during question and answer period, one woman got up and asked “Tell me, Mr. Kinsley, what is really the vital difference between a man and a woman?” “Madam, I cannot conceive” readily replied the celebrated author.

2. A court jester who could pun on any subject was asked to pun on “King”
He immediately said “King is no subject”

3. The famous Kannada dramatist T.P.Kailasam was once asked “What is your conception of Life?” T.P.K. immediately retorted “Life itself is the result of conception”.

TAILPIECE: Mr. Mori, once the Prime Minister of Japan, was given some basic training in English before his visit to Washington to meet President Bill Clinton. The instructor told Mori “Prime Minister, when you shake hands with President Clinton, please say “How are you?”. Then Mr. Clinton would say “I am fine. And You?” Then you should say “Me too”. Afterwards the interpreters will do all the work for you.
It looks quite simple, but when Mori met Clinton, he mistakenly said “Who are you?” Mr. Clinton was a bit taken aback but still managed to react with humour “Well, I am Hillary’s husband, ha-ha”. Then Mori replied “Me too, ha-ha”. After that there was a long silent moment in the meeting room.


Created: Friday, June 6, 2008 9:19 PM


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