A Huffington Post article talks about nine types of humor. They are Physical, Self-deprecating, Surreal (Monty Pythonish think of the crazy cartoons), Improvisational, Wit-Wordplay, Topical, Observational, Bodily and Dark. Maybe you can think of more. The link to the article with more explanation is here
One type of humor is about laughing at ourselves. Most of us have embarrassing moments in our past. Being a bit of a perfectionist those moments can haunt me. I feel like I can let them continue to bother me or make a good story out of them. The article calls it self deprecating humor. A dictionary definition of this humor is modest about or critical of oneself, especially humorously so.
Jim Gaffigan and many comedy acts use this successfully. He says that self-awareness is key in communicating with people showing that you see things the way others do – by calling yourself out for being underdressed, late, rude, or a ghostly shade of white as he often does in his act. This is an important identification point in the social and comedic arena. People are appreciate humility and impressed by honesty; self-deprecation is a fast and reliable route there.
If we have high self esteem it is easier to tell the stories about our mistakes. Once when leading a meditation class, I forgot to remind everyone to turn off their cell phones. Just as I said “Now connect to you higher power which gives you inner wisdom.” Someone pocket dialed and this voice said to the room, “Sorry we cannot make the connection at this time.” The whole room was laughing so much we had to start the mediation. I think this story relates to those of us who have forgotten to turn off the phone.
Some of the incidents I did talk not about for a while to let the sting go, some times years or decades. Twenty years ago I was traveling the country certifying people to teach fitness After a very long day I got locked out of my hotel room in nothing but a towel. I snuck up to the front desk hiding behind big potted plants along the way. It took a few year to look back and laugh and I now think it could have been a scene in a movie. Even if I don’t tell this story it makes me feel better to be able to laugh about it rather than feel bad about my mistake.