Humor in American History


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Humor in the United States of America is traced back to the revolution period. American humor can be defined as the conventions that integrate the humor in the United States of America. The purpose of this essay, is to examine the development of the American humor over the time since its introduction. The essay investigates the immediate and the long term effects of humor development and seeks out patterns that explain its role in American history.


Humor comprises generally the American culture and is Marjory based on the historical culture and the present development of culture, but does it play any role in the American history?

The Role of Humor in American History

 Humor is considered as dependent on a number of factors ranging from the level of maturity and education, the location and the context, just to mention a few. Humor plays a big role in the development of major practice. Humor for instance has been directed to the academic practices that are malicious. The role the humor played here was subverting the malicious practices and criticizing them from within. For instance the play by Drew Hayden Taylors called alter natives, some scenes exposes how the teaching materials used in the academic context were manipulated with lies. The stories of the American legends were found to be useless, an attitude spread among the natives. The contemporary writing depicts how the scientific progressions and development interfered with the native culture. The laughter was linked to learning. The texts in this writings prove how the western artistic and scientific frameworks justify the claims of identity of the native culture (Gruber 230).

Humor that existed in form of writing was also used to defend against the appropriation of the cultural practices. This entailed reimagining of the plots that explained the anthropological arguments of the native culture. Humor was seen as a way of enhancing community awareness. This is because humor entails recognition of the cultural traits of a community and teasing people about them. This brings the true picture of their identity and their practices. Humor brought a way of acceptance into the community. This was done through the identification of the communities’ weaknesses and imperfections and making a comic out of them (Gruber 230).

 Generally the people laughed at the jokes but also created in them a sense of identity or adoptions to their communities. An example of such humor that was directed at criticizing the different native characteristics is the Curtis Jonnie’s song called the Indian Time (Day 18-19). He explains how a girl has been waiting for the fiancé to marry her for a whole year, but the fiancé was on the Indian Time. The humor touched on the Moccasin telegraph to explain the way traveling of the information and gossip among the native people. Victor also wrote on this in his literature entitled Alexie’s Reservation Blues where he mocked the crowd that showed up for the concert “they must think it is bingo night”. The role of humor however is not implicated to enhance tribal hatred or self degrading. For instance quoting literature from the works of Sherman Alexie’s called the ‘Spokane Tribal Celebration’ ,the author demonstrates this when he writes ‘we all laugh ,especially me, because I know the only time Indian men get close to the earth anymore is when Indian men pass, and hit the ground’ (74).

Humor brought a sense of flexibility and life in the traditions that existed. The racial discrimination for instance that is traced to the American civilization was common where the tradition of the whites was seen as the rigid principle. This can be seen in the Louis Owens’ novel called Bone Game of 1994. The characters in the novel are Luther and Onatima who travel from Mississippi to California to help Cole over the nightmares torturing him. The novel illustrates how humor can tear the boundaries that exist between the past, the present, and the native versus the whites (Gruber 230).

Humor criticizes the native values that assimilate the importance of valuing everyone. It can be used as a constant reminder of people who have achieved much that they are not more important than the rest. This is done through teasing them in a comical way. Thomas King’s novel entitled Truth and Bright water mocks the tribal authorities who use the power they have to for their own needs and not for the community. The character in the novel called Franklin, who is the tribal chairman, states that those who eat are those that work for it. The brother, tease the tribal chairman, “Unless they can steal it or get elected chief”. The healing power of humor can be illustrated in Michelle A. Poirier’s thesis defined “Humor is Good Medicine” (Gruber 230).

Humor in American history ranged from literature works to cartoons, animations, magazines, radio, recorded theater and audio, films, televisions, and sketchy comedy. Some of the famous humorists include Ambrose Bierce who did the Devils Dictionary work. He marked the 19th century humor era in literature (Gruber 230).


The essay matches the development of humor in America with the role that humor played at that specific period. Humor has therefore developed since the American Revolution to the world today where technology dominates. Humor has seen the rise of many who make the world a better place to live, a word of laughter.

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