More information on the subject:
What is humor? An attempt at definition.
Psychology in general has been interested to greater or a lesser degree (rather lesser) in humor for over 100 years now (beginning with Freud’s Jokes and their relation to the unconscious in 1905) and the last twenty to thirty years shown a real outbreak of numerous humor research and theories. However, the scientific study of humor has never made it to the mainstream, which could perhaps help its consolidation and the quantity of different approaches and ways scholars operationalize humor makes it difficult if not impossible to present a one, universal definition.
The Hidden Power of Humor
Used as both a shield and a weapon, humor has the power to soothe the most wounded and threaten the most evil. These qualities speak to its inherent potential — a potential that has not yet been entirely tapped or even recognized. Holocaust survivor Emil Fackenheim said, “We kept our morale through humor,” and many other survivors of the Holocaust, POW camps, torture and abuse have shared his sentiment. The stories of these survivors and findings of modern medical research support the notion that humor is an extremely effective tool for managing our advanced awareness and for creating new perspectives to cope with otherwise unbearable environments or circumstances.