What makes these doormats “humorous”? And for that matter, what makes anything humorous? Regular readers know that we at Meh clearly have no idea, or we’d do a better job at it. So we’re going to hand the question over to the to the professionals – philosophers.
E.B. White famously wrote, "Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.” So sharpen your scalpels … this ain’t gonna be pretty.
If there exists a madness that is laughable, it can only be one compatible with the general health of the mind,—a sane type of madness, one might say. Now, there is a sane state of the mind that resembles madness in every respect, in which we find the same associations of ideas as we do in lunacy, the same peculiar logic as in a fixed idea.
Pretty sure Henri was talking about this:
Derision or scorn is a sort of joy mingled with hatred, which proceeds from our perceiving some small evil in a person whom we consider to be deserving of it; we have hatred for this evil, we have joy in seeing it in him who is deserving of it; and when that comes upon us unexpectedly, the surprise of wonder is the cause of our bursting into laughter.
No doubt René would have a good chuckle over this doormat:
The cause of laughter in every case is simply the sudden perception of the incongruity between a concept and the real objects which have been thought through it in some relation, and laughter itself is just the expression of this incongruity.
Ol’ Artie would be happy to know his philosophical ideals live on today:
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps: for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be. We weep at what thwarts or exceeds our desires in serious matters; we laugh at what only disappoints our expectations in trifles.
Silly Willy would bust a gut over this example of his hypothesis:
You want to know what’s not funny? Thinking about it
Yeah, you’re right, Chris. We’ll go back to our thoughtless version tomorrow.