There are many scholarly theories about why we laugh. Here are some less scholarly, but more authoritative sources:

“That is the saving grace of humor, if you fail no one is laughing at you.”

— A. Whitney Brown

“There's nothing like a gleam of humor to reassure you that a fellow human being is ticking inside a strange face.”

— Eva Hoffman

“Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.”

— E. B. White

“One doesn't have a sense of humor. It has you.”

— Larry Gelbart

“Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.”

— Aristotle

“He who laughs, lasts!”

— Mary Pettibone Poole

“There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.”

— Will Rogers

“Humor is an almost physiological response to fear.”

— Kurt Vonnegut

“Defining and analyzing humor is a pastime of humorless people.”

— Robert Benchley

“Humor is just another defense against the universe.”

— Mel Brooks

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

“A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.”

— Madeleine L’Engle

“Humor is also a way of saying something serious.”

— T. S. Eliot

“Humor is a rubber sword — it allows you to make a point without drawing blood.”

— Mary Hirsch

“The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself.”

— James Thurber

“We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.”

— Agnes Repplier

“Think of what would happen to us in America if there were no humorists; life would be one long Congressional Record.”

— Tom Masson

“The love of truth lies at the root of much humor.”

— Robertson Davies

“Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.”

— Elsa Maxwell

“I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can.”

— Linda Ellerbee

“Humor is everywhere, in that there's irony in just about anything a human does.”

— Bill Nye

“Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.”

— Mark Twain

“You grow up the day you have your first real laugh — at yourself.”

— Ethel Barrymore

“A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.”

— Clive James

“Laughter is the foundation of reconciliation.”

— St. Francis de Sales

“When humor goes, there goes civilization.”

— Erma Bombeck wishes he’d said that.

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