Extended Definition Essay


Humor is all but a mask worn everyday, never be fooled by it. People wear different facades to hide who they truly are inside. Comedians especially are often the ones who don masks and act like they are bursting with happiness. They humor people for them to laugh and be able to feel the same happiness they do. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines humor as, “the ability to be funny, to make others laugh, and to be amused by hilarious things.” It is a common misconception that people who are humorous are happy but for others that is the complete opposite. Instead for some humor is a tool to obtain their lack of happiness or to conceal their bottled up feelings inside. Humor is a character trait used to mask one’s pain, insecurity, and mental illness.

Humor is a character trait used to mask one’s pain. A man masks his emotional pain with humor to flee his demons and broken soul. People mask their pain through humor to forget their wounds. By making others laugh, they get to feel a brief moment of happiness that allows them to cope with life. “Humour is often seen as a coping strategy” (Glassco et al., 2014, p. 1). The laughter of the people as a response to the person’s humor would enable him to have a brief sense of being happy. His fleeting happiness would give him the comfort he seeks. The moment others laugh, he would be able to feel the happiness he was looking for. Even if momentarily, the pain disappears. The perfect example of a man caught between struggling with pain and happiness was Robin Williams, he used his humor not only to hide his pain but most importantly to flee from it. He constantly made others laugh so that he could feel happiness in his life and not the pain eating him up inside.

Humor is a character trait that is used to hide one’s insecurity. An insecure person would use humor to hide his lack of confidence by being funny. People would not be able to detect the difference from true confidence and a pretentious one. True confidence is being assured and secured about one’s self and identity while a pretentious one only feigns self-confidence but does not actually have it. An insecure person uses humor to get attention he or she seeks. The insecure person adores and craves for the publicity and affection that his or her humor would provide. “By being humorous, an insecure person would attract the attention of another individual” (Brumbaugh and Fraley, 2010, p. 1). The humor would hide a person’s insecurity because he or she would come off as funny. People often mistake being funny as confident when that is not necessarily the case. The perfect example would be the Sad Clown, a character known for coping with his life through humor. The Sad Clown is insecure but fools himself into believing that his humor presents him as confident (Sad Clown, n.d.).

Humor is a character trait used to mask one’s mental illness. People diagnosed with mental illness particularly depression use humor as form of a temporary healing (Berry, 2004, p.9, 31). Their humor does not necessarily take away their depression but it does help them keep it at bay just enough for others not to glimpse it. Other people would then be likely to believe their wellbeing is at a fine state. On the other hand, they also use humor as a defense mechanism to avoid their mental illness. They use their humor to deflect what is tormenting them deep inside and shield themselves because they are afraid to face it. Often instead of solving it they put on a brave face and fake a smile even if they are miserable inside (Jaffe, 2010).

Keeping what is inside one’s self is commonly done because it is easier to live that way. Pushing away all the pain, sadness, and insecurity helps people forget their problems because humor briefly takes it away from them. It may not be a permanent solution but it allows them to live through the day. Through humor the people who have experienced pain, sadness, and insecurities get to survive the day by concealing it inside of them. The people use humor as a front because it becomes a shield that deflects what they really feel inside or who they truly are. Looks are deceiving; the happiest looking person can be the saddest deep inside.


(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humor

Brumbaugh, C., & Fraley, R. (2010, January 1). Adult attachment and dating strategies:

How do insecure people attract mates? Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/1537946/Adult_attachment_and_dating_strategies_How_do_insecure_people_attract_mates

Samson, A., Glassco, A., Gross, J., & Lee, I. (2014, August 13). Humorous Coping and

Serious Reappraisal: Short-Term and Longer-Term Effects. Retrieved from http://spl.stanford.edu/pdfs/2014/Samson EJOP.pdf

Jaffe, E. (2010, December 10). The Psychological Study of Smiling. from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2010/december-10/the-psychological-study-of-smiling.html

Berry, K. (2004, May 1). THE USE OF HUMOR IN COUNSELING. Retrieved fromhttp://www2.uwstout.edu/content/lib/thesis/2004/2004berryk.pdf

Sad Clown. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://tvtropes.org/Main/SadClown


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