Is Humor A Character Trait?
What is humor? Is humor a character trait? According to the dictionary it is:
1.the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech.“his tales are full of humor”
the ability to express humor or make other people laugh.“their inimitable brand of humor”
The definition says nothing about character. The ability to laugh is a gift. Being able to laugh at ourselves means we do not take ourselves to seriously. Laughing at others, and not with them, displays a lack of character if the reason for the situation involves misfortune. Our question remains. Is humor a character trait?
A lot of good comedy is situational. Look at this old BBC clip by Dave Allen and you will find almost no words spoken. The humor is in the situation. No mocking or maligning occurs. It is simply a funny situation. We all find ourselves occasionally wanting to laugh at someone’s misfortune. Do so only if the other person can laugh about it as well. It will reflect highly on your character.
Humor is not a character trait, but good character allows us to appreciate humor in the right situations. We should never laugh at someone, only with them. Where the line falls is not easy to tell, but if the other person is offended or humiliated, then it’s not humor.