Thomas Nagel discusses the absurd in ‘The Journal of Philosophy’ and presents philosophical discussion on the reasoning behind the absurdity of human life. He explains that ‘Most people feel on occasion that life is absurd, and some feel it vividly and continually’ . His discussion focuses on the human experience and why things feel absurd and does not venture into the relationship between the absurd and comedy. However, it is undeniable that his writing provides a platform for understanding why some things are funny.
‘In ordinary life a situation is absurd when it includes a conspicuous discrepancy between pretension or aspiration and reality’ . Nagel gives the example of when ‘… a notorious criminal is made president of a major philanthropic foundation’.  This situation is absurd because of the juxtaposition between two elements: the elected president is morally opposite to the foundation that he is running. Although Nagel does not dissect why this situation is comedic, it is evident that the incongruence evokes a humourous effect.
The theory of incongruence is about flipping expectations on their head and presenting two things that do not normally go together; things that are illogical, things that are absurd. The clip from Austin Powers in Goldmember (Jay Roach, New Line Cinema, 2002)  is an example of an absurd situation in which the actions occurring are incongruous with the setting. Austin Powers is in a clinical environment and has been asked to urinate into a cup and to then prepare to be physically examined for medical purposes. Despite the context, the tone becomes humorous because Austin Powers uses his ‘mini me’ companion to try and trick the doctor. The rediculousness that the viewer sees contrasts the seriousness of the doctor’s tone and this creates a sense of absurdity that makes us laugh.
 Nagel, Thomas. ‘The Absurd,’ The Journal of Philosophy (68:20 (1971), 716.
 Ibid, 718.