The Hidden Element

The basic gag in this illustration is that something is hidden from one of the characters. Everyone else, including the reader, knows what's taking place. For example—a scuba diver doesn't see what's coming up behind him, or a wife, looking out into the jungle, keeps talking to her husband, who's being swallowed by a python. Incongruity is fundamental in humor and this type of cartoon is a perfect example of the superiority theory. We laugh because we know somebody else is about to become, in more ways than one, a fall guy.

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