Ask McFartnuggets: “Why is it Funny When Old People Fall Down The Stairs?”

Dear McFartnuggets: 
Why is it funny when old people fall down the stairs, but it’s not as much hilariousness when a normal aged person falls down the stairs? What is the science behind this phenomenon? -- Louise from Galveston, Texas

Dear Louise:
Actually, it’s funny when ANYONE falls down stairs. Keep in mind I’m only referring to the actual act of falling down stairs. Obviously the pain it causes people and the injuries sustained by the fall are not funny at all. But when they’re in the moment of falling down stairs of course it’s funny. Falling down stairs is classic slapstick comedy. Just the way the body moves against its will as gravity takes over and how a person bounces off the stairs is absurd looking and therefore comical. Now, as to why some people find it funnier when elderly people fall down stairs I can’t say for sure. It’s probably because anything is funnier when elderly people do it. It’s not funny when a 20-year-old person raps, but a rapping granny is rather humorous. There’s just something about being older that makes you sillier looking. Also, it could be that their bodies contort weirder while in the motion of falling and it’s far more shocking to witness. In the case of an old lady falling down the stairs you may laugh involuntarily just due to the awkwardness and discomfort of the situation. Thanks for the question!

Babies falling down stairs, not nearly as funny.

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