Hey You, Teasing Is The LOWEST Form Of Humor

Hey You, Teasing Is The LOWEST Form Of Humor

Even knock-knock jokes encourage audience participation.

Someone once told me that puns are the lowest form of humor, but I have realized that that can't be true. Puns have to be at least the second lowest form of humor, because the lowest form of humor is teasing.

Teasing is actually a subcategory of another form of humor. Let’s call it “insult humor.” The subcategories of insult humor are teasing, self-deprecating humor, and bigoted jokes (which I will not mention again in this article, because racism/sexism/ableism/homophobia/antisemitism/transphobia/islamophobia/etc. is never funny and therefore doesn’t actually count as a form of humor at all). The difference between self-deprecation and teasing is who the insult is directed at: the joker, or another person.

So why do I specify that teasing, as opposed to all insult humor, is the lowest form of humor? It comes down to power dynamics. But before I talk about power, I need to talk about what (allegedly) makes teasing funny.

A tease consists of a mocking, negative comment made by one person about another person, directly to that other person, sometimes with an audience. In other contexts, we would call this kind of behavior rude, insulting, and inappropriate. But in this context, the two people know and like each other. The teaser is insulting someone that they would not truly ever be mean to. Most humor hinges on reversal of expectations like this. But not all kinds of humor involve hurtful language.

Consequently the teaser is exerting a kind of power over the target, by saying mean things at their expense in the context of a joke. And in order for the joke to work, the target cannot otherwise participate. They cannot respond. They can neither argue against the insult nor take offense without "ruining the joke".

In self-deprecating humor, the teaser and target are one and the same. There is no power imbalance, no risk of hurting the feelings of any unwilling participants. The audience is free to relate to the self-deprecatory feelings and take joy in the joke. In self-deprecating humor, having an audience actively agreeing with you about the insult is an asset to the humor.

Teasing cannot handle agreement any better than it can handle disagreement. A big part of my personal sense of humor these days, which doesn't go over as well as I wish it did, involves responding to other people's teasing with agreement. I call it "back-teasing." I reply to the tease as if it is normal, expected, and taken seriously. The way I see it, if someone pokes fun at me, why shouldn't I be able to poke fun back?

But teasing is a form of humor so low that it cannot tolerate participation. Whenever I back-tease someone, they become very uncomfortable. "I was only kidding," they say, clearly not having fun anymore. By participating, I have somehow "ruined" the joke.

This is because of the power dynamics I mentioned before. The key part of the tease is that the teaser has control of this "not real" situation. They define when it begins and when it ends, and dictate that the insult is not something they would "actually" say. If the target responds to the tease, they take that power of definition away from the teaser. By responding, they lengthen the scenario beyond the intentions of the teaser. And because they responded, it is undeniable that the teaser did in fact actually say the insult, making the scenario potentially real and therefore actually insulting.

Jokes are supposed to create joy between people. A joke that denies participation, that insists that one person have fun while another person is unable to enjoy it, is the lowest form of humor. Even knock-knock jokes encourage participation. And so do puns – it is possible to bounce puns back and forth between people (“Can I tell you a yolk?” “I’d rather crack one.” “Egg-xactly!”), for hours on end, prolonging the fun and creating joy for all who like puns. No insults necessary.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash

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A Beginner's Guide to Milwaukee Sports

Part I: The Bucks


Being a college student in Milwaukee has its perks, especially for sports fans. Now, while some may have brought their hometown teams to college, others (myself included) may have warmed up to the Cream City teams without knowing much about them. If this is the case for you, then these pointers can help you start enjoying Milwaukee basketball without looking and sounding like a bandwagon fan.

Quick History


Here are some facts about the Bucks that can make you feel more knowledgeable about the franchise:

- They have only won one championship (back in 1971) and have lost one NBA Finals series (1974) (Land of Basketball)

- They have only had one* MVP-caliber player in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#33) during the 1971, 1972, and 1974 seasons (Land of Basketball)

- Other Notable Players Include: Oscar Robertson (#1), Sidney Moncrief (#4), Jon McGlocklin (#14) and Ray Allen (#34) (Land of Basketball)

*Giannis Antetokounmpo may win the MVP award this year

sited: https://www.landofbasketball.com/teams/milwaukee_bucks.htm

Gear Up


This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Wearing team's colors or spirit wear is a must, especially if you're going to a game. Most items like hats and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable, and these are great if you're not trying to break the bank. Buying your gear from a sporting goods store will usually be cheaper than buying them from the team store (the main one of which is located in Fiserv Forum). Most online stores like NBA.com, Fanatics, Fansedge, and sometimes even the team's online store will have sales on sports gear, so getting a good deal on team wear is always a plus!

A Word of Caution: Jerseys

All three of these players are not part of the 2018-2019 roster and #77 and #3 have been reused by current players Ersan Ilyasova (#77) and George Hill (#3)


If you're willing to go the extra mile, buying a jersey can really get you into locked in and pumped for the live action. However, it should be kept in mind that official Nike NBA jerseys range from $110-$250, so they definitely are an investment. While there are other options available like the FastBreak jerseys by Fanatics, they are a simpler (still official) knockoff of the Nike jerseys. Also; beware buying sale jerseys. There are usually three reasons why jerseys are ever on sale (aside from a storewide sale): a player is injured, a player doesn't play much and is about to be traded, or a player has been traded. While there is nothing wrong with having the jersey of a player who went on to another team (like Kareem and Allen), you are not exactly going to get brownie points for wearing a Jabari Parker or a Thon Maker jersey anytime soon.

Know The Current Squad

Fiserv Forum, Home of the Milwaukee Bucks


Everyone in Milwaukee has heard of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but who else is part of the supporting cast?

Starting Five for the 2018-2019 Milwaukee Bucks (Basketball Reference):

- #6 Eric Bledsoe at Point Guard

- #13 Malcolm "The President" Brogdon at Shooting Guard

- #22 Khris "Money" Middleton at Small Forward

- #34 Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo at Power Forward

- #11 Brook "Splash Mountain" Lopez at Center

Student Perk


Using your university email, you can get special discount ticket offers for home games by signing up for the Bucks' Student Rush Program. Tickets usually start at $15 per ticket, and the seats available may depend on who the Bucks are playing (and how well they are doing during the season).

Get Involved and Have Fun!

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Don't be afraid to get into it! The Bucks are an amazing team to watch and they love Bucks Nation. In addition to cheering at games, going to team events and player appearances can be great ways to make memories and even get an autograph or two!

Are You a Bucks Fan Now?🦌


I think Giannis would agree!

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