3) Humor can help us recognize reality
It can get right to the point, and it puts things in perspective. “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words when necessary.” (St. Francis of Assisi). That’s clever and even funny, and it’s also a profound truth.
Jesus often silenced his opponents with clever answers and humorous retorts. When he was asked whether his followers should pay the tradition Roman tax, he had a zinger. His opponents were aiming to set up a trap. If he said yes, he would have been encouraging his fellow Jews to accept the Romans overlords. If he said no, he would have been guilty of sedition. So he simply said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and give to God what is God's." It isn't too hard to imagine his onlookers smiling at this clever response and his opponents realizing that he had escaped their trap.
Humor - an amusing saying, a clever response, or a funny story - can be effective for truth telling where a lengthy argument or discussion simply cannot. "Humor makes every message stick, whether it's the silly ad that you never forget of the joke that hammers home some important spiritual truth." (Margaret Silf)
4) Humor speaks truth to power
A witty remark is a time honored way to challenge the puffed up, the pompous, and the powerful. Jesus was a master at deploying humor, exposing and defusing the arrogance of the some of the religious authorities of his day with clever parables and amusing sallies.
Here is a story that humor is a weapon in the battle against the pride that infects most of us and often infects our religious communities. A friend's mother was in the hospital at the same time the local bishop was. After his operation, the bishop went around room to room visiting all the patients. When he visited my friend's mother, who was recovering from a difficult surgery, he said, unctuously, "Well dear, I know exactly how you feel."
And she replied, "Really? Did you have a hysterectomy too?"
The mother and the bishop became friends. After she died, the bishop was invited to preside at her funeral, and he retold the story. He had learned to take himself not so seriously.