Lee and Dawn talked about a clown school they had attended and both of them said the experience changed their lives and was transformational. It was during this training that they learned that humor can come in forms that either give energy or take energy away.
They went to clown school in order to do service with folks within the hospital setting. It was shared during the training that there is really no reason to derive humor from putting someone down. You can imagine that would be true especially if you are performing for those who are terminally ill, or even those who are just plain sick. But when you think about it, if you had the choice, why wouldn't you give energy rather than take it away. Both are in your power to do.
An example that was provided in the training was that of a clown bringing a flower to someone to take a whiff. When the person smells it, the flower wilts from his bad breath. This is an example of the negative humor. Dawn explained that the alternative is to bring a wilted flower over to the person and the flower perks up because the person breathed life into it. Then the clown could urgently bring things over for the person to revive...... done right, this could be funny stuff and the person doing the "breathing" would or could be left feeling esteem rather than try to overcome the negative energy from the first example.
Think about the energy it takes to be a good sport about negative humor. You need to shield your self, get tougher skin so to speak and have to either discount what the person says or take it in as some kind of feedback. That takes energy.
Now, this does not mean that playful jabs are never welcome, and sometimes humor can say things that words cannot express. But, overall, I want to make a positive contribution with others and build them up rather than chink away at them over time.
My mom would say things like, "your pretty, if you like that sort of thing". I knew she was joking, but there was always a shade of doubt there. Negative humor is like that in a way, it has the ability to leave you with a doubt. You can override it, you can rise above it, you can ignore it, you can stuff it-- but it leaves you needing to do something with it where positive humor for the most part just flows.