This paper examines student perceptions of humor in the film First Contact. Based on previous critiques of cultural representations—namely, charges that some ethnographic films replicate stereotypes and that images of deified European explorers instantiate a "myth model"—the paper considers the possibility that laughter evoked by First Contact derives from the viewers' sense of cultural superiority. For the most part, this interpretation is not confirmed. Instead, audience laughter is found to be based on incongruities in the interactions captured in the film. Using notions of incongruity, connections are drawn between humor, wonder, intellectual discovery, and cultural contact.

Access to this content is restricted.

  • If you are a AAA member please login to obtain full-text access.
  • If you are not a AAA member you can find out more information and join here
  • If you are a library patron of an academic institution, and are experiencing an access issue please contact your library administrator for assistance.
  • If you would like to purchase online access to this single article please locate the article on Wiley Online Library or contact a Wiley-Blackwell customer service representative at