The other day, I was watching an episode of Big Bang Theory with my wife. Throughout the show, I found myself laughing hysterically. Now I’m not just talking about a quiet chuckle. I was belly laughing out loud. I turned to my wife (who contrasts my Parrot style with her Owl style) and said, “Don’t you find this funny?” To which she replied, “Yes, I’m laughing inside.”

To Parrot, there’s no such thing as “laughing inside.” If it’s funny, you’ll see it will be written all over their faces and you’ll hear it in their hearty laugh. I couldn’t determine whether she found the humor as funny as I did or she was just expressing it differently. That, I’ll never know, but I do understand that what’s funny to one person isn’t necessarily funny to another.

Humor, it seems, is subjective. We can even see the different forms of humor in the various types of comedians. In fact, the four DISC styles are easily visible when we consider the type of humor that Eagles, Parrots, Doves and Owls tend to display. For example:

  • People with the Eagle style occasionally get themselves in trouble for being too caustic or direct. Don Rickles and Andrew Dice Clay display this Eagle type of humor.
  • With the Parrot style people tend find humor everywhere they go. They don’t necessarily tell a lot of jokes, as their humor usually comes in the form of witty responses to what they are experiencing. Parrots can even use humor to deflect stress. You can observe the spontaneity of Parrot humor in people such as, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, and Ellen DeGeneres.
  • Doves (those with the Supportive style) don’t usually make jokes and would never do so at someone else’s expense. Their humor tends to be self-deprecating, as in the case of Bob Newhart or Rodney Dangerfield.
  • The conscientious Owls can be sarcastic and often have a deadpan delivery. Sometimes, others have a difficult time determining if an Owl is making a joke or is being serious. Jerry Seinfeld is a perfect example of an Owl comedian. Note that his humor is based on questioning, a core skill of the Owl style. You can hear him saying, “Have you ever noticed…?” Or, “Did you ever wonder why…?”

Humor is a part of what makes us human and we each approach it and respond to it differently.

Note to self: Just because my wife isn’t laughing out loud at Big Bang Theory, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t find it funny…because she swears she does…which I still find hard to believe. 😉