Do all Funny People Laugh on the Inside?

By Gabrielle Ayoub, Licensed Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapist


We all have this one person in our friend group who cracks a joke in serious situations and makes it their job to lighten up the room with laughter. But what’s really behind the curtain? Sometimes, the reason behind humor is a lot deeper than just being funny.


The Shield of Humor


Many use humor to protect themselves from all the bad things in the world. It’s like a shield that repels the negativity and only absorbs positive energy. Whether it is sadness, insecurity, or fear of judgment, the simple act of cracking a joke can turn these troubling thoughts into unserious, amusing ones. This comedic armor is particularly common among those who struggle with self-esteem. They use humor as a defense mechanism instead of confronting their distress directly. It’s a way for them to laugh so they don’t have to cry.


From Self-deprecation to Self-acceptance


On a deeper level, some resort to self-deprecating humor to cope with their own self-image. Making themselves the butt of their jokes is a way for them to laugh at their own flaws before anyone else can. Despite the ironic nature of this method, some jokesters really do believe that embracing their quirks helps them reach a form of self-acceptance, and possibly self-love. However, there’s a fine line between a harmless joke and reinforcing negative self-perceptions.


The Funny One Gets a Spot at the Cool Kids’ Table


Everyone loves a comedian. This is why a wide range of people often choose humor to fit in. Some believe that humor can get them on the fast track to social acceptance, especially at school or in the workplace. Being funny can earn them a spot at the cool kids’ table, or at least prevent them from sitting alone. Not only does making people laugh give them a sense of belonging, but most importantly, it’s used as a diversion so that the group can overlook any differences.


The Classroom Clown


“Who am I really?” can be a very distressing existential question that many can’t directly answer. Instead, they might create a persona such as that of the classroom clown. This behavior is often seen in teenagers who have not yet established their identity. Being branded as the funny one can be a temporary escape from an identity crisis, but it can sometimes be a vital phase to self-discovery. The classroom clown behavior can also be explained by other phenomena, such as the need to stand out to make friends or to shield themselves from being a target of bullying. It can also be used as a distraction from academic pressures or problems at home.


Stop deflecting, start addressing!


Choosing humor over dealing with life’s hardships is a poor bargain. Much like any other inconvenience, running away from it doesn’t do much on the long run, because the source of the problem is still there, hidden far away in your subconscious mind.
A safe environment in which you can openly discuss your feelings and vulnerabilities can significantly reduce your need to use defensive humor. For instance, a mental health professional can help you recognize humor as a potential sign of deeper issues and address it through therapy sessions. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a great way to understand and cope with your emotions.


Our counselors specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy:


• Fatima Issa
• Leonie Sleiman
• Christina Rahme
• Pia Maria Joumaa
• Elena Akkary

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