We use humor in our lives for a myriad of purposes. This motivation to laugh has its roots in ancient history (I have read). Since that was a few years before my time (but unfortunately not too many years before my time), I will have to take archaeologists word for this phenomena. I remember loving to laugh as a child. My mom was the "sense of humor proprietor" of our home, and making her laugh, was especially fun, as she was a tough audience. Especially when I was being grounded for something I'd done wrong, which was most of the time.
Humor principles are the same as they once were, in a nutshell, one person's tragedy is another person's comedy, aka slipping on a banana peel, still holds true to a certain degree. But audiences have gotten tougher, savvier, and more demanding, and rightfully they should. We live in a different world than our ancestors. We suddenly woke up in a world that was not quite as predictable as we were taught it would be in grade school. A day doesn't go by that people don't warn us, "We live in dangerous times, ya know."
Our generation is anxious. It has gone through everything from Viet Nam to modern day terrorism. What I mean by "our", I mean the fringe side of the baby boomer generation. We are survivors to a certain degree. We have seen more wars than any generation before us. Our choices are to be ambivalent, to laugh, or to cry. Laughing does not mean we are endorsing negativity. Quite the opposite. Humor is a way humans can cope under circumstances that seem to have spun out of control, which, does indeed happen.
It is easier to cry. And it is ok and healthy to cry. But to leave humor and laughter out of one's life can make it bleak and miserable. People go to therapy. Just because one has a sense of humor about life, does not make them immune from psychological services. But you can be rest assured it can be a deterrent for many. After all laughter, like running or walking is therapeutic. We release endorphins when we laugh, walk or run. Imagine doing all three at the same time.
I read a biography on Walt Disney, and how he launched his Magic Kingdom. I loved cartoon humor, still do. Not only do I get to (occasionally) give myself a chuckle, but sometimes others as well. Doing what you love, whether its making people laugh or not, will make you happier inside, and those around you seem happier. And I am better when I am happier (and vice versa).