The oldest type of humor: Fart humor

I just returned from the Applied Improvisation Network’s Conference in Baltimore, and I learned so much and had such a good time.While the conference was exciting and educational one of the highlights of the trip was our VIP tour of the American Visual Arts Museum.

Oustide AVAM

Since “laugh” is a part of my name, I was especially interested in the current exhibit which will run through October entitled “What Makes Us Smile?” It may make some smile but it made me laugh out loud more than once.

Among the things I found rewarding was learning that throughout history one of the best sources of humor has been the fart. In fact, the earliest known humourous publications dating from the 12th century include fart humor. I use a fart story as an introduction to most of my presentaions. Because I believe that self depcratory humor is a great way to begin any presentation I like to tell the story of my first granddaughter. For her parents her arrival was one of the great events of human history. They posted her sonogram on the web. (Common now but not so common 12 years ago.) Even before she was born, they needed to know what we grandparents wanted to be called. It would be a shame if she emerged from the womb and used the wrong name for a grandparent. My wife choose “Grandma,” and my daughter-in-law’s mother selected “Granny.” I selected “The Grandfather.” I suppose I may have been joking, but when my son scoffed, I dug in my heels. “I shall be known as ‘The Grandfather.” I said.

Well, the child didn’t actually begin talking for a few weeks, and when she did begin, like most new speakers her diction wasn’t that hot, and I became known as THE GRANDFARTER! When participants in my training want to know if I want to be addressed as “Dr. Stottlemire” I tell them they may call me what the family does. It is quite rewarding when someone raises their hand to ask a question and prefaces it with, “Grandfarter, could you explain what you mean….”