Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world. So if it is correct to say that humor was stamped out in Nazi Germany, that does not mean that people were not in good spirits, or anything of that sort, but something much deeper and more important.
(Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Culture and Value, entry in 1948, eds. G.H. von Wright with Heikki Nyman (1980).)
The difference between farce and humour in literature is, I suppose, that farce strums louder and louder on one string, while humour varies its note, changes its key, grows and spreads and deepens until it may indeed reach tragic depths.
(V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (b. 1900), British author, critic. "A Comic Novel," Complete Collected Essays, Random House (1991).)
In some sort of crude sense, which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.
(J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967), U.S. physicist. Lecture, November 25, 1947, delivered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Physics in the Contemporary World," no. 50, Technology Review (1948).
The remark became notorious when it was quoted in Time (February 23, 1948 and November 8, 1948).)
Humor, a good sense of it, is to Americans what manhood is to Spaniards and we will go to great lengths to prove it. Experiments with laboratory rats have shown that, if one psychologist in the room laughs at something a rat does, all of the other psychologists in the room will laugh equally. Nobody wants to be left holding the joke.
(Garrison Keillor (b. 1942), U.S. writer. We Are Still Married, introduction (1989).)