Ted's talking points

10th March 2000 at 00:00
We all like a laugh, or do we? Is humour a good thing, or can it be cruel and unkind?


We need to relax sometimes and humour brings people together. Everyone likes a good laugh. It releases tension, cheering us up, avoiding depression and stress.

It is also an outlet for the imagination, and many creative children have a well developed sense of humour. If people were serious all the time, life would get very boring. It is also important for pompous or ver-powerful people to be ridiculed.


Humour can be cruel, especially jokes about people who are vulnerable, such as minority groups or individuals, anyone with a disability, the tall or short, fat or thin. It is also used by people who cannot argue their case properly, turning serious debate into a joke. Humour can be anti-social: boys laughing at other boys who try hard, calling them "boffs", or girls ridiculing each other for being "fat".

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today