This paper uses the example of 25 young people's responses to a Daily Mail cartoon on the subject of gay marriage in order to explore the pragmatics of humor reception. The results indicate that the enjoyment of a multimodal joke depends to a large extent on the background knowledge, values and attitudes of the individual. If, for instance, a cartoon is too threatening to someone's core sense of identity, it is likely to create anger and alienation rather than amusement. Humor appreciation is also shown to depend on the broader socio-cultural context in which the cartoon is encountered.
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