Laughter

I was thinking about this the other day: what exactly is laughter? What purpose does it serve? When you get down to it, we laugh at what is ridiculous or silly. Sort of. We laugh at silliness, at the expense of others, when words have two meanings, and when thereís a shock to it. Good jokes are universally funny, bad jokes universally arenít, yet none of us can genuinely say what exactly makes one joke funnier than another. Funny how that is. Get it? Funny?

The true purpose of humor can be somewhat easy to discern. As homo sapiens developed their minds, they became more aware of their own existence. They also became more and more aware of happiness, sadness and suffering. So naturally, humor developed as a means to increase happiness, which lead to less suffering, which leads to procreation. That makes sense. Sort of.

But what I canít figure out is this: One can definitively state that at some point in time, prior to the existence of homo sapiens, humor did not exist. No one laughed at anything. Then, along came humans, and there was laughter. So this would stand to reason that there had to be one point in time when laughter was introduced. Some early human (or near-human) laughed at something he thought was funny. What was it? Did someone stumble and drop all their berry gatherings? Did someone slip on a banana peel?

What I also canít figure out is who exactly laughed at this event. Was it just one person who laughed? Or was it a crowd? If it was one person who laughed, how did other people react? I mean this is the first time EVER that someone laughed at all. How would they know what it was? And how soon after that did people start faking laughter at something that wasnít funny? I want to knowÖ