In defense of my dancing


Humor columnist Erin Clancy dives into why things are funny.

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

What is funny and why? This is a question that humans have grappled with for awhile, and will have grappled with until the publication of this article. 

But in all seriousness — obviously, it’s something that makes us laugh. And perhaps it’s more instinctual, guttural than anything, but one does have to wonder. Is there a specific characteristic something “funny” must possess in order to produce the response of laughter? Does something that is funny contain, perhaps, some element of surprise, of discomfort, of a thwarted expectation?

I could offer you a lazy yet equally as fair response that my articles are the definition of funny. And while they are, I do not attempt here to provide an answer to these inquiries. More so, this article is a shallow exploration into the funny, the silly and the absurd. 

Because we can’t really say for sure what is funny, can we? That’s probably one of the reasons why laughing is so cathartic, so intrinsically meaningful. It is neither explicable nor scientific. 

And obviously, funny is different for everyone. We don’t live in a vacuum. What is deemed funny may as well be determined by the specific circumstances surrounding it.

For instance, why do people often break out into intense laughter at the sight of me dancing? Is it because, given my appearance, the elegance and mastery with which I move my body is unanticipated? Is it because bystanders are jealous of my talent and thus seek to mask their envy with the utterance of snide giggles?

Of course, these questions are completely unanswerable. I am simply offering some food for thought.

What I do know is that funny is what I live for. I might not be funny all the time — although whoever thinks that is wrong — but I do always seek out what is funny.

It’s a little game I like to call, “finding the funny.” (Well, I didn’t call it anything until I made it up right now. But it’s kind of cute, and maybe I’ll use it in real life. Well, probably not. I really just had to publish something and this is what I came up with.) 

Finding the funny is finding the silver lining in something that doesn’t make sense in the first place. It’s laughing at the simplest, most inane things. And it’s great because it allows us to make mistakes and treasure them, not in spite of the fact that they are awful, but because they are awful. So that you can look back on that period of time when you unironically wore magenta converse sandals to school — yes, YOU did that. I’m simply the messenger— and laugh. 

Perhaps seeking out the funny is simply finding it in unexpected places. It’s finding a little more reason to keep going. To laugh at what is beautiful, wrong and absurd. To laugh at what simply is. Finding the funny is the reward for the observation of human nature, or perhaps it’s the incentive for more of it.

Either way, I’m going to keep dancing. I love bringing the people joy, even though I’m not sure why this particular action brings so much of it. 

Erin Clancy is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at

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