Social Question

After_dinner_trivia's avatar

Why is it so funny when people hurt themselves?

Asked by After_dinner_trivia (156 points ) December 10th, 2013

I always go into hysterics when someone I am with falls over, or walks into something. Why do people find this so funny?

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30 Answers

tom_g's avatar

It isn’t.

ragingloli's avatar

It just is.

DWW25921's avatar

Doing something silly always results in hilarity. I don’t think it’s wrong to laugh if someone does something idiotic on purpose. I mean, I wouldn’t laugh at someone who gets injured as a result of a legitimate accident. But someone skateboarding somewhere dangerous and gets a “junk hit” for being careless is hilarious.

whitenoise's avatar

I think its funny when people make stupid mistakes. Having them hurt themselves takes the fun out, though.

Pachy's avatar

It’s the old saw about falling into a hole—comedy when it happens to someone else, tragedy when it happens to you.

After_dinner_trivia's avatar

Of course I wouldn’t laugh at someone who genuinely injures themselves, just to clear that up.
@tom_g but there’s a whole genre of comedy devoted to it, so it must appeal to someone!

livelaughlove21's avatar

I believe an indication of how immature you are is how hard you laugh when someone you know gets hurt.

I laughed pretty hard when my husband almost busted his ass on the pavement while we were walking our dog awhile back. No one was around us and he didn’t actually fall or get hurt, though. He did, however, skid across the rocks pretty far. He laughed too, after he told me to go fuck myself. :)

If I’m with someone that falls or walks into something, I’m going to make sure they’re okay and wait until they laugh first before I start to giggle. I won’t point at them and laugh hysterically – I’m not 12.

It is pretty funny watching people you don’t know get hurt while doing stupid stuff, though. That’s why shows like World’s Dumbest are so popular. You want to slide down a stair rail on your skateboard? You deserve to get hit in the nuts. Maybe now you won’t create any equally stupid children.

I believe the rule is that you can only laugh after the fact. If not, you’re a dick.

khajuria's avatar

I don’t find it any funny.

ucme's avatar

People falling over is just funny, simple as.

tom_g's avatar

@After_dinner_trivia: ”@tom_g but there’s a whole genre of comedy devoted to it, so it must appeal to someone!”

Maybe. But what is the genre, and what drives it? Is it related to schadenfreude in some way? I honestly can’t find anything funny about someone falling down. Could it be a developmental phase, where that nervous moment when you don’t know if someone is really hurt brings confusing emotions, and they come out as laughter? I don’t know.

flip86's avatar

I saw a fat girl fall down a flight of steps once and almost died laughing. It was hilarious to me. She didn’t get hurt. Just a bruised ego.

I also saw a different fat girl sit in a lawn chair and bust right through it, falling on her ass. Even she was laughing about it. It was pretty funny.

I really don’t know why I laugh. It is something I can’t help. It just happens.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If they get hurt I don’t find it funny but when they look like prat falls….it’s funny! It just is!
One time my daughter’s boyfriend’s son was visiting. He was about 6. The kids were fooling around in our pop up camper. The kid went to get out…and completely missed the step and just fell out! I quickly ascertained that he wasn’t hurt.
I was laughing and I said, “Kennison…there is a step there you know.”
He said, “I know but it doesn’t work.”
At that point it became hilarious! He’s 8 now, and still the funniest kid I have ever known.

gailcalled's avatar

Some people might find it amusing…I don’t.

GoldieAV16's avatar

If I laugh when someone gets hurt it’s either because I don’t know they’re hurt, and think they were just doing something crazy and silly, or nerves. Yes, sometimes I hear something horrible, like a story about someone falling into a giant mixer, and I laugh. I feel bad about it, but I can’t help myself. I think it’s nerves or else there is just something wrong with me.

amujinx's avatar

One word: schadenfreude.

Or if you prefer a more humorous take on it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think it’s hilarious, and I also am sometimes known as Dangerprone Daphne myself because I run into crap all the time, especially at work when I’m busy.

I don’t mind at all when people laugh, I mean I run into stuff I’ve seen everyday for twelve years, it’s ridiculous!

GoldieAV16's avatar

I get hurt all the time, too, and find it funny. One time I was walking into the garage, reading the mail, listening to music and did not hear hubby lowering the garage door (he didn’t notice me walking in – thought I was getting in the car. I did a faceplant right into the door as it came down. Hurt like heck, but we both laughed until we cried. We still laugh about it.

JLeslie's avatar

Not funny to me. I don’t get why people think it is funny to risk hurting oneself, let alone actually getting hurt. Like those Jackass movies just piss me off. I can’t watch it.

The only time it is funny to me is if someone isn’t really hurt, but did something klutzy.

Pooh54's avatar

I will give you all a good laugh. Before I had my knee replaced, when we first got our dog, Snap, we took her for a walk in the woods. I had a knee brace that I had under my pants. As we were walking, I would have to stop and pull it up. Finally I told my husband that I needed to stop and tighten it up (which meant I needed to drop my drawers). I picked a clear spot in the woods and dropped my pants. As I did this, something flew up into my face. Realizing it was a bee, I yelled run and started to pull up my pants. Too little-too late. The bees had gotten into my pants legs and proceeded to sting the cr@p out of my legs. During that time I started to run myself—ok picture this, my pants are barely above my knees and the legs were tucked into my boots; I was running until I tripped on a tree root and fell on my face. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get up. Snap got stung a few times but my husband remained uneffected by the bees but was in tears laughing as hard as I was that he couldn’t even speak. This is when the greatest video would have made it worth it. After all of that, when I finally got myself pulled together, I had no idea which way was out. We wandered around for another hour until we figured out where we were. Luckily, I wasn’t allergic but since then have had nasty reactions when stung. And no, I don’t drop my drawers in the woods no matter what. I think it is a natural human reaction to laugh or cry. Better to laugh than cry. I can hear you all laughing now.

downtide's avatar

I was going to mention schadenfreude too. It’s also why slapstick comedy never dies out.

And, why is your funny bone called the funny bone? Because when you hurt it, everyone else laughs.

cazzie's avatar

Schadenfreude is a bit more complex….. but Slapstick is simply gutteral. It is simply a reaction of ‘Thank goodness that wasn’t me!’....

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Pooh54 So funny, what a good story!!!

I have to admit that when I stub my toe or something and my husband laughs I literally get so mad I could tear him limb from limb, at least give me ten minutes to get over the pain first ya know?!

longgone's avatar

I don’t find that funny. Clumsiness, maybe…but those shows where children fall from trampolines are not the least bit amusing to me. I avoid them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@longgone I soooo hear you. No tramp fall seems funny to me. What amazes me is that people even have them. Not in a million years would I have a tramp for my kids.

flutherother's avatar

Slipping on a banana skin is funny in the abstract but it wouldn’t be if it happened in real life, but it never happens in real life.

Adagio's avatar

I’ve never found it funny actually.

hearkat's avatar

I laugh – but it’s almost a reflexive action. I also laugh when I’m nervous. I wonder if anyone has studied the laugh reflex…

jca's avatar

I don’t find it funny at all.

I can tell you what I do find funny – there’s a video of people hurting themselves on treadmills. Now that’s funny! They fly off and hit walls and stuff.

Pooh54's avatar

@hearkat My sister-in-law laughs when she is nervous. I remember when her father passed away, she was in the limo on the way to the gravesite and was laughing so hard she almost wet her pants.

Valerie111's avatar

I don’t know but I get hysterical when someone trips or if I do. Thankfully I can control myself if someone really gets hurt.

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