When You Wonder Is This Meant To Be Humorous (Explained)


I think the older I get, the more confused I am by what’s supposed to be humorous. This is particularly true regarding humor in kids’ shows and current trends like viral memes and gifs meant to be funny. So when you wonder ‘is this meant to be humorous’ the next time, keep this in mind.

‘Is this meant to be humorous?’ became a viral meme from a My Little Pony episode in which a (villainous) character sarcastically shouts it after unexpectedly seeing an image of Twilight Sparkle. Prior to the meme, the saying was a way to profess not finding something humorous that others seem to.

As a mom of four (and Oma to a growing brood of grandchildren), as well as retired teacher, I can easily say I’m not ‘in the know’ when it comes to many comedic trends and current events enjoyed by the masses and especially kids.

One way to build humor with your kids is to use it strategically through routines or regular activities. For instance, our Fun Jokes For Kids Coloring Book is a great tool for embedding humor through kid-friendly activity.

That being said, I’m a fan of the ‘Is this meant to be humorous’ meme that was spawned after a My Little Pony episode. So let me explain what I learned about this meme, as well as what’s intended when someone wonders either allowed or silently ‘is this meant to be humorous?’

What is meant by humorous?

https://youtu.be/O3qFedyRvtI
A Rhodes Scholar, Adam Mastroianni, focused his research on the psychology of humor, particularly on the relationship of laughter and our perception of how funny something is intellectually.

Before we tackle the meaning behind ‘is this meant to be humorous’, I want to first dig into what’s meant by ‘humor’ and humorous in the first place. So let’s start with the the question, ‘what’s humorous?’

Humorous is used to describe a person, situation, or thing as being funny. A humorous person has a good sense of humor and is able to add levity and/or laughter. A humorous situation or thing might be incongruous, unexpected, or surprising, but in a good way, resulting in amusement of or for others.

As a teacher, I often provided synonyms and antonyms of unfamiliar words to help my students better understand what I meant. In that regard, here’s a brief table of such for the word, humorous.

Synonyms for HumorousAntonyms for Humorous
AmusingBoring
FunnySerious
EntertainingUnpleasant
ComicDepressing
JocularGloomy
Tongue-in-CheekTragic
WhimsicalDramatic
Table of common Synonyms and Antonyms for Humorous

Another way to help students with a word they need to learn is with examples, so here are some I’d likely use for humorous with kids.

  • Tweens and teens find the episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants humorous.
  • Little kids think it is humorous to wear underwear on their heads.
  • Women often find it humorous to make fun of silly things their husbands do, and vice versa.

Coincidentally, laughter doesn’t always indicate humor. For instance, people sometimes laugh when uncomfortable, nervous, or stressed. As well, we laugh from being tickled, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we find it humorous. In fact, it may be irritating, but we laugh from the stimuli.

Humorous is defined as “full of or characterized by that quality which appeals to a sense of the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous full of or characterized by humor”

Merriam-Webster

As well, we might find something quite humorous but not laugh. Some people are naturally more reserved and not as expressive with their emotions, something sometimes termed having a ‘flat affect‘. Those people are less likely to LOL even if they find something humorous.

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What does it mean to find something humorous?

So now that we have a common understanding of humorous, let’s look at what it means to find something humorous. In other words, why do people find some things humorous and other things not so funny?

People tend to find things humorous based on common cultural and social expectations of norms, and then what’s reasonably outside of those norms. As well, there are some minor differences in humor based on individual personalities, age, and interests.

Let’s look a bit deeper at three categories regarding finding something humorous, that is: different types of humor; lacking a sense of humor; and normal versus abnormal views of humor.

Different Types of Humor

As a Fun Jokes writer, I spent countless hours researching and writing about humor. As such there are many types or genres of humor. Some common types of humor that you’re probably familiar with are: slapstick; wry; dry or deadpan; and dark humor, all of which have been addressed on this blog. But scientists define the types of humor a bit differently, which can encompass the different styles previously mentioned.

According to psychologist Rod Martin, there are four main types of humor. They are…

  1. Affiliative- Martin explained this style as one that helps you connect with others. It involves ‘banter and joking around’ with friends.
  2. Self-enhancing-This is humor to make yourself feel better in situations that don’t otherwise seem too positive for yourself. It’s like finding humor in your mistakes.
  3. Aggressive-This is humor at the expense of others, using sarcasm, making fun, ridiculing, or teasing others.
  4. Self-defeating humor-As expected, this is humor that puts yourself down or disparaging yourself to make others feel better and laugh. It’s also called ‘self deprecating humor’.
Affiliative HumorSelf-Enhancing HumorAggressive HumorSelf-Defeating Humor
Jerry SeinfeldJon StewartAmy SchumerJim Gaffigan
Ellen DeGeneresSeth MeyersBill BurrRyan Reynolds
Table Showing 4 Types of Humor and Comedian Examples for Each

When Someone Thinks Something’s Funny But You Don’t

And then again, there are those of us who struggle with humor; maybe we refer to ourselves as ‘humor-challenged.’ This is usually referring to people who commonly seem left out of the joke, or the joke’s gone over their head. I have certainly identified with this over the years, too.

There are generally two categories of ‘when someone thinks something’s funny but you don’t’ situations.

  1. One is more akin to the previous paragraph, in which it seems you just don’t get the joke, and it’s probably a common occurrence. You struggle with humor in general.
  2. And the second is when you generally get humor, but for some reason or another, you’re left out of the joke this time around (happens just now and then).

In the first instance, you likely suffer from a low or blank sense of humor, or maybe what’s been called a flat affect, or in the extreme, having no personality.

Did you know that you can improve your sense of humor?

So if you fall into this category, or your child seems to, don’t fret too much. For me, I have definitely improved my humor over the years by watching comedies, reading joke books and comics, and generally talking about ‘why’s that funny’ whenever I didn’t get the joke.

For those in the second category, it may be that you’re experiencing some mild depression and currently your typical ‘sense of humor’ is lacking. Or it could be that you’re simply distracted and missed the punchline. Perhaps even, the joke’s just not funny and others are actually laughing in spite of it or from peer pressure.

In either case, it is possible that the humor in this instance is not meeting your idea of reasonable; this is especially true if you deem the humor to be inappropriate or too ‘dark’.

As far as children are concerned, this might be a situation that pertains to them because they are still developing their sense of humor. In cases where kids don’t get the joke, you should actually teach it to them.

Yes, you can teach and likewise learn to have ‘a sense of humor.’

On the flipside, maybe a child did something they think is funny, but it’s not. For instance, it inappropriate, mean, or disturbing. In this case, it’s just as important, if not more so, that you explain why it’s not funny. This is also teaching ‘a sense of humor.’

Normal Vs. Abnormal Sense of Humor

You also should be familiar with what’s a normal and abnormal sense of humor. This is especially vital for those with children or in charge of children such as teachers to be able to recognize.

And in a society where a sense of humor is valued more than most anything else, it’s doubly important.

So what’s a normal sense of humor?

  • Being able to laugh at silly things that happen; the unexpected; and poke fun at yourself, as well as help others to have amusement

What’s an abnormal sense of humor?

  • It can mean lacking any sense of humor or pleasure in typically pleasurable activities; or finding humor in situations or instances where humor is not typical. It may also mean over use of humor expressions like laughter and smiling, especially in unlikely moments.

There are some mental illnesses connected with abnormal sense of humor. Psychopaths and sociopaths, for instance, find humor in pain. In addition, people with schizophrenia or even ASD may struggle with normalized humor.

Is This Meant To Be Humorous Meme

Episode 26 of Season 4 My Little Pony contains a clip, ‘Is this meant to be humorous’, that went viral.

Now that the concept of ‘humor’ and ‘humorous’ should be clear, let’s address the infamous, or should I say, popular meme, ‘Is This Meant to be Humorous?’

The meme ‘is this meant to be humorous’ with Lord Tirek from My Little Pony is from season 4 episode 26. Lord Tirek is clearly frustrated after thinking he conquered the pony princesses only to discover there’s one more. He doesn’t find it funny at all. To use this meme is to show the same sarcasm.

You can find all of the My Little Pony seasons on Amazon, as well as corresponding merchandise such as this six mane collection which includes the hero pony, ‘Twilight Sparkle,’ from the meme episode.

Is This Meant To Be Humorous? from My Little Pony

So was ‘is this meant to be humorous’ meant to be humorous, as Lord Tirek said it? What did writers intend?

My Little Pony season 4 episode 26 has the phrase made into a meme and gif, ‘is this meant to be humorous’ and the answer is yes, it is. Little kids find it funny when Lord Tirek out of frustrations says this, after realizing there’s still a (smiling) princess pony he hasn’t captured.

In many kids’ cartoons, like My Little Pony, there are sprinkles of humor and comedy. Some characters are more overtly meant to be funny, whereas other humor is embedded. In the few episodes of My Little Pony that I’ve watched it’s clear that the character ‘Discord’ is meant to be funny, for example.

Discord, as his name implies, is a problem character, sometimes bringing about struggles and challenges to Ponyville. However, his depiction with multi colors, large eyes, and various animal parts lend him a goofy, affable quality. Though he’s known for ‘discord’ and chaos, he’s also a humor tactic and comic relief for the series.

But other humor tactics are less like Discord, and more subtle. It’s in the narrative that older audiences will find this. As children ‘grow’ with the series, they’re more able to pick up on it.

However, the juxtaposition of an angry Lord Tirek (who’s just banished the pony princesses) next to a bright and smiling Twilight Sparkle stain glass picture, illustrating vividly that he has not actually captured ALL of the pony princesses, is obvious humor to even the youngest of audiences.

The Humor Meant by Using ‘Is This Meant To Be Humorous’ Meme

What makes this particular section from My Little Pony meme worthy?

The humor meant by ‘is this meant to be humorous’ from My Little Pony season 4 episode 26 is to illustrate that something isn’t funny, but makes us laugh anyway. This is very effective if the target (i.e. the ‘this’ in the phrase) is absurd, outlandish, or clearly deviates from the norm or desired.

Just as the hulking, menacing villain Lord Tirek next to the smiling, innocent Twilight Sparkle princess pony are deep contrasts and opposites, the meme is best used with something that is clearly not funny or humorous by most standards, but we tend to laugh anyway.

Examples to Put with the Meme, ‘Is This Meant To Be Humorous?’:

  • Is This Meant To Be Humorous? next to being rained on with no umbrella
  • Is This Meant To Be Humorous? next to a kid with two-missing front teeth on picture day
  • Is This Meant To Be Humorous? next to someone slipping on ice (but of course, not really hurt)
  • Is This Meant To Be Humorous? next to a car with all flat tires
  • Is This Meant To Be Humorous? next to little kids dressed or acting as adults (in suits; bridal dresses; or cursing)

Is This Meant To Be Humorous Punchline

The punchline for ‘is this meant to be humorous’ is that yes it is, and no it isn’t. There are two back stories for this phrase. One is the original when you wonder if something is supposed to be funny, or is actually funny. And the other is a meme that was made popular after the phrase was a part of a kids’ cartoon series.

  • Yes, typically saying ‘is this meant to be humorous’ means that you probably recognize there’s a funny intention or comedic element present. It likely means the humor is lost on you, too.
  • But it could also be that no humor was intended, but somehow humor came about anyway. For instance, some people might dress silly or act weird but not intend to be funny; it just happens that it’s seen that way. In this case, you might be hesitant to laugh so as to not offend.
  • The meme ‘is this meant to be humorous’ is from season 4 episode 26 of My Little Pony. In it, a villain character thought he’d captured all of the princess ponies in an attempt to steal their powers. However, he notices a smiling princess pony named ‘Twilight Sparkles’ in a stain glass image, and realizes there’s a princess pony he didn’t know about. Out of frustration, he exclaims this phrase and it allows a comic effect in the episode.

To learn more, I encourage you to a family movie night binge-watching several seasons of My Little Pony!

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Jackie Booe

A mother to four kids, grandmother ("Oma") to a growing number, a retired teacher for over 18 years, and a wife to Mat since 1994, Jackie knows kids and laughter. She holds a license to teach in 3 states and is certified to teach elementary, secondary English, and English Language Learners, with practical experience at all levels. She holds three degrees in the field of education and has taught education courses online at the university level as an adjunct professor, too. She has mentored numerous education interns, hosted professional development for educators, and tutored, in addition to homeschooling her own children.

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