Sophomoric humor is that which is juvenile and puerile. It is a type of comedy that often includes toilet humor and gags that are based on and appeal to a silly sense of immaturity. The word sophomoric, an adjective dating from 1813, is used to refer to and describe something or someone that is conceited, overconfident, poorly informed and immature, as characterized by a stereotypical sophomore. The phrase can be derisive, but is also used to refer to a style or vein of comedic act.
A sophomoric view is one held confidently because of lack of awareness of one's own ignorance. From the Greek words σοφός (transliterated as sophós), meaning wise or clever, and μωρός (transliterated as mōrós) meaning foolish or stupid, related to the word moron. A sophomore is a second-year student in a four-year course of study. The term originated in England, but is now used principally in the United States.
American film director Judd Apatow's work, including The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Funny People, has been described as using sophomoric humor, drawing laughs for jokes about sex, penises, and bodily functions. A critique of John Steinbeck's The Short Reign of Pippin IV by Peter Lisca describes the story as lacking the burlesque humor of Tortilla Flat, the Rabelaisian humor of "St. Katy the Virgin," the folk humor of The Grapes of Wrath, the tender humor of Cannery Row, the "terrible" Swiftian humor of The Wayward Bus, and (instead) consisting of "a sophomoric humor of grotesque improbability and wordplay." Thomas Pynchon is an example of a writer who mixes high brow literature with sophomoric humor.
- Merriam Webster Dictionary
- "Even as the director stretches himself with the darker, more cerebral material, he simply cannot part with the sophomoric humor that made his movies The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up such huge hits." Kirk Baird Movie review: Funny People **1/2; Director Judd Apatow can't decide if he's making a comedy or a drama July 31, 2009 Toledo Blade
- Thomas Fensch Steinbeck and Covici; The story of a friendship page 196, 197