I’m not sure what specific primal trigger makes pratfalls funny. According to some very science-y research, watching someone fall down, provided it’s in a non-serious context, falls into something called a “play frame,” which can create an unusual psychological response in a human brain. When “play frame” is combined with something called “incongruity”—the brain’s response to an unexpected, out-of-the-norm event—it can activate certain neurons that manifest in amusement.
It’s also possible that humans—myself specifically—are bad and cruel and rife with schadenfreude.
Whatever the deal, this clip of Gavin DeGraw wiping out on the ice after singing the National Anthem at a Stanley Cup playoff game is funny as fuck:
For the record, DeGraw is just fine. I, on the other hand, am forced to contend with my own awful sense of humor and likely weakness for Jackass reruns. Please send me your prayers.