Humour is a highly personal, deeply subjective matter. What we find funny hinges on a complex equation of personality, experience, and mood.
Except when it comes to seeing someone fall over. Everyone, from every time and place in human history, enjoys that.
No doubt cavemen grunted with laughter when one of them tripped on a diplodocus egg, Ancient Romans sniggered when someone went over on their tunic, and the Tudors were guffawing whenever anyone skidded on a rotten apple.
Playwrights and cinema stars — like Mr. Chaplin, above — have always understood that slapstick is the surest way to unite a crowd.
The Germans call it ‘schadenfreude’. Psychologists call it the ‘social comparison theory’. But what it boils down to is this: when other people have the misfortune of eating pavement, you feel better about yourself and better about the world around you. Here are some of the best things about it.
8. Or just when you’re mildy distracted by a giant panda on the street.
10. It happens to beautiful people.
18. Annoying drunks.
(We’re pretty sure this guy survived.)