Are Dream Jokes Real?

Could be a Philip K. Dick story, but I also think it’s an inherently interesting question. If something happens in a dream that causes you to laugh, is it really funny? What if you can remember the scenario afterwards and your waking self doesn’t find it funny, or coherent? Once or twice when this has happened to me, my laughter wakes me up just enough to remember the dream. In the case that I remember, it wasn’t a funny narrative or wordplay that made me laugh, it was something more like a spatial or conceptual pun. It doesn’t appear to me a subject that many have pondered, however, if you want to understand the state of terror we sometimes experience, you need look no farther than sleep paralysis.

5 Replies to “Are Dream Jokes Real?”

  1. I don’t understand why a spatial or conceptual pun isn’t funny. (Perhaps you could share the example?)

    Maybe your sleeping self just has a less hidebound sense of humour than your waking self?

  2. Seems like any attempt to share the joke would take us deep into “bat” territory. (“So there was this shape, and… aw skip it, you had to be me.”) As for my waking humor being hidebound–if only!

    “Ridicule” was on IFC the other night; it may have been the scene with the sign-language pun that got me thinking about this.

  3. I like to imagine this extended silence is the captivating sight and sound of Krunkheit reading Freud on jokes and dreaming.

    More likely it’s another spell of overwork?

    And I’m still not sure your sleeping sense of humour isn’t trying to compensate for a waking deficiency of same. A flashing REM indicator that the tank runneth under, one might think.

    Have a look at that reading list. (“Fit In, Stand Out” and “Never Eat Alone,” I grant you, are exceptions — those are genuinely funny.) And I seem to remember poor Bert (“As we learned in Jurassic Park,” Jan. 7, 2007) rejoicing in the human outwitting of “insufferably comprehensive corporate plans” — and you writing at great length to explain (which was actually the tack of other responses as well)that these plans needn’t be overcome at all, there was a perfectly comprehensive corporate way of fixing them.

    Now in your case, an imperceptive response along these lines is probably an occupational hazard and not a lack of humour per se — but it does evidence an inability to grasp another perspective based in — acute seriousness?

  4. I am teasing, of course. And shamelessly prompting you to post.

    When I tire of developments on fronts elsewhere — really tire — to visit here, and find you batting bats and the human belfry about, or doubting your own sense of humour in a dreaming state — engaging with things of real interest — is like slipping into cool water.

    It soothes the fevered brow. The tension in the muscles melts.

    Oasis.

  5. To me, it is perfectly clear that what you laugh at in your sleep is funny, whether it seems so to your sadly imperceptive, seriously circumscribed, insensitive waking mind or not.

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