Illustrating the humorous: Gary Larson

Gary Larson’s The Far side cartoons are well known. The illustrated settings and narrative often take place in a misleadingly mundane tone. I was recently asked to select a good example of humour used in the illustrative medium. This piece i remember from a Far side collection book which was kicking around the family home when i was younger. As with all jokes, it is fairly easy to apply any of the main Humour Theories to this one but the one that i find most satisfyingly applies is Plato’s and Aristotle’s preferred one; the superiority theory. We feel a relief in our sense of superiority over the self pitying clown as he prepares revenge against people who harmlessly laughed at his performance.Image

The threat of violence in any comical situation tends to heighten the humour too. Especially unwarranted violence. 



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