My son has started writing his own material, and he might be unclear on what constitutes humor. His jokes often run along the lines of:
Q: Why did the fork run away?
A: Because he didn’t want to get eaten!
He follows this punchline with his own brand of stage laughter, and I pause a moment to suss out if there is, in fact, any cleverness in it.
Then I laugh. Because there is none. Or none I can see.
But it does lend a sense of perspective to me as to what it must feel like to be a bystander to my sense of humor whose quips and punchlines often require knowledge of Roman Empire military unit organization. Or electronic surveillance techinques. Or the intersection of the German language and 1980s action films.
In short, my sense of humor requires my audience to be me.
So that’s how it feels.
However, my laughter at my son’s joke makes him try harder. And the occasional occurrence of someone getting the joke–that one person in the room who snorts at the punchline while everyone else looks on like a daddy wondering who would eat a fork–gives me the strength to go on making the obscure jokes.
Besides, they amuse me.