Langston Hughes on humor

“Humor is laughing at what you haven’t got when you ought to have it. Of course, you laugh by proxy. You’re really laughing at the other guy’s lacks, not your own. That’s what makes it funny—the fact that you don’t know you are laughing at yourself. Humor is when the joke is on you but hits the other fellow first—before it boomerangs. Humor is what you wish in your secret heart were not funny, but it is, and you must laugh. Humor is your own unconscious therapy…. Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air, and you.”

in “A Note on Humor” (1966)

James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1901 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. One of the earliest innovators of the literary art form called jazz poetry, Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. Wikipedia

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