There’s this theory on humor that a core facet of it is derived from seeing people being harmed and us being glad we aren’t the ones who’ve just suffered an injury. I hate to get all Freudian on your slapstick bit, but it does kind make sense. If behavior encourages one’s self not to be in harms way through both positive response to seeing someone else in pain + a community where those in pain are ostracized and mocked, it is only natural that such behavior would be self-propagating. This “us vs them” mentality would also explain why kids being knocked over is so funny– it is not so macabre that we associate it with the death of children (which is good) and the inherent futility of a toddler being smacked by a giant balloon only adds to the previously asserted notion of ridiculing clumsiness and the pain of others as a means of adding further internal incentives to not get hurt.
What GIF of a small child enduring pain was your favorite? Comment below, you heartless sociopath.