Chapter 3. From Lucy to “I Love Lucy”

The Evolution of Humor

  1. John Morreall

Published Online: 11 NOV 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444307795.ch3

Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor

Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor

How to Cite

Morreall, J. (2009) From Lucy to “I Love Lucy”, in Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444307795.ch3

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 11 NOV 2009
  2. Published Print: 4 SEP 2009

Book Series:

  1. New Directions in Aesthetics

Book Series Editors:

  1. Dominic McIver Lopes1 and
  2. Berys Gaut2

Series Editor Information

  1. 1

    University of British Columbia, USA

  2. 2

    University of St Andrews, UK

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405196123

Online ISBN: 9781444307795



  • From Lucy to “I Love Lucy”- evolution of humor;
  • laughter of earliest humans - evolving from primate play signals;
  • laughter-evoking play activities - enjoyable, with nothing necessarily humorous;
  • Paul McGhee's four stages in humor development;
  • “Incongruous Labeling of Objects and Events”;
  • impersonating, mimicking, and pretending - being central in comedy;
  • playing with sounds of words and multiple meanings;
  • Bavaria, fifteenth through eighteenth centuries - Risus Paschalis (Easter Laughter);
  • Greece, fifth century BCE - behaviors giving rise to “komoidia” comedy;
  • basic pattern in humor - playful enjoyment of cognitive shift expressed in laughter


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • What Was First Funny?

  • The Basic Pattern in Humor: The Playful Enjoyment of a Cognitive Shift Is Expressed in Laughter

  • The Worth of Mirth