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Word Count: 2,313
Professor Jim Gray of Sonoma State University defines culture as a means of survival Going by this definition of culture the evolution of black humor has definitely been a foundation in the survival of the comedy in America This paper will be a discussion of how African American Humor has evolved and for centuries has changed and continues to change the way we look at comedy Before beginning this paper I must stress the importance of humor for all races Truly the environment in which most humor takes place has helped American culture and people survive According to Constance Rourke humor is important because 1 Humor is a part of the natural life process and is commonly taken for granted or not recognized as having serious importance The fact that humor is a framework for non-real or play activity and not taken as a serious interaction allows messages and formulations to be risked within its framework which would not otherwise be acceptable or possible 3 Humor allows the exploration of new ideas in situations of uncertainty or unfamiliarity Similarly allowed are the negotiation of taboo topics sensitive issues and marginal serious content 4 Humor performs a boundary function on both internal and external lines policing groups in terms of membership and acceptable and competence behavior 5 Humor can function as a coping device to release tension allay fear forestall threat defuse aggression or distance the unpleasant6 Humor can represent an implicit contradiction paradox or joke in the social structure made explicit The joke constitutes a reversal within its boundaries of the patterns of control in the real world 7 Canned jokes and situational jokes are not entirely separate Canned jokes are not sealed from the situation in which they are told as they always affect it and incorporate interaction into their pattern situation jokes always have some impact beyond their context Langston Hughes says Humor is laughing at what you havent got when you
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