Puns can sometimes be as a result of a damaged brain, writes Dom Hone.
We all have that one friend who lives only to make jokes. Hell-bent on a supremely timed gaff, they will forgo food, water, sleep, love, any scrimmage of self-decency and other human needs just to get there.
But what if this light-hearted banter was the sign of a much deeper affliction?
A German man who was the subject of a case report published recently in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences was recently diagnosed with Witzelsucht, which literally translates from German to “joke addiction”.
Researchers believe it may be due to brain damage sustained to the right frontal lobe, which is associated with humour appreciation.
The neuroscientists involved in the report wrote: “On interview, the patient reported feeling joyful, but his compulsive need to create humour had become an issue of contention with his wife. He would routinely wake his wife up in the middle of the night just to tell her about the jokes he came up with.”
Though Witzelsucht patients often find their own jokes hilarious, they often have trouble appreciating the jokes of others.
The ‘Jerry Seinfeld of Germany’ was able to construct a few gems, as reported by the BBC’s David Robson, including this:
Q: How do you cure hunger?
A: Step away from the buffet table.
(Why didn’t I think of that?)
So the next time your friend says tells you that “being a vegetarian is a missed steak”, try not to explode into a rage. It might not be their fault.
Words by Dom Hone