Self-deprecation was recommended by philosophers of Stoicism as a response to insults. Instead of getting defensive, we should join in by insulting ourselves even more. According to the Stoics, this will remove the sting from the insult. It will also disappoint our interlocutor because we failed to show upset in response to words that were supposed to hurt us, thereby reducing the chance that they will try to upset us like that again.
As an element of politeness
In traditional British-English English culture, self-deprecation is considered to be an element of modesty. Modesty is considered a virtue, often contrasted to the North American demonstration of self-confidence, often taken for boasting. This is characteristic such as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, where "blowing one's own trumpet" is frowned upon. In stereotypical English behavior, belittling themselves means appearing polite by putting someone else first.
Self-deprecation is seen as a major component of the comedy of North American comedians such as Woody Allen, Mike Birbiglia, Brian Regan, Hannibal Buress, Bo Burnham, Louis C.K., Rodney Dangerfield, Larry David, Phyllis Diller, Tina Fey, Nathan Fielder, Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, Kevin Hart, Leslie Jones, Don Knotts, David Letterman, Bernie Mac, Jim Norton, Conan O'Brien, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers, Amy Schumer, David Spade, Jon Stewart, Ray Romano, and Robin Williams.
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- Morris, Wesley (2010-06-20). "The many faces of Joan Rivers". The Boston Globe.
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