Another Benign Violation: Pet Shaming

Public shaming often makes the viewer uncomfortable. What happens, however, when you replace the shamed person with his or her’s best friend? According to the Benign Violation Theory,  humor arises when something is wrong yet okay, threatening yet safe, or what we call a benign violation. This intersection explains why

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Another Benign Violation: Celebrities Read Mean Tweets

One of Jimmy Kimmel’s most successful bits on his late night show is Celebrities Read Mean Tweets. The title is self-explanatory. You can watch the full bit here. What makes watching celebrities read horrible, detestable, and vulgar tweets about themselves so amusing? According to the Benign Violation Theory, humor arises

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Another Benign Violation: Drunk History

With Drunk History in its 3rd season on Comedy Central, let’s look at why this show is funny. Drunk History features a guest recounting historical stories while actors re-enact the tale. The catch: the guest story-teller is wasted. Imagine watching a History Channel special and having to wait for the narrator to

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Repost: Humor and haunted houses

Are you visiting a haunted house in the couple weeks? I’ve observed two kinds of comedy associated with haunted houses: You observe people being scared and then laugh about it. You laugh at people’s reactions to being scared. Both seem to be happening here. Check out more here. Alf Lamont,

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Would your life be better if you were funnier?

The nice people at ESPN’s 538 site came to Boulder to look at our research examining how to make people funnier. I hope to have more results soon. In the meantime, come to our Humor Hackfest (5/12), which is part of Boulder Startup Week.

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I shouldn’t be giving dating advice

Valentine’s Day is looming. Regardless of what you think about the day, it’s a time of year that people give thought to their relationships. In a past blog, I have talked about the value of a good sense of humor – and how it is important to relationships. Recently, I

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Comedian Shane Mauss invited me on his podcast: Here We Are

And here is…HERE WE ARE 1:20 Friends 5:45 Trolley experiment 13:15 Pedestrian in academia 22:10 Morality of laughter 23:45 Humor Code 28:50 Google for science 33:30 Theory of Funny 36:25 Laughter and/or Humor 40:20 Comedian’s laugh & Reddit 44:25 Controlling laughter 47:20 Laughter in animals 52:40 Benign Violation 56:10 Laughter

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Podcast - I'm Not Joking

Curtain Call

  Welcome to the final episode of I’M NOT JOKING. Comedian JD Lopez returns from Episode 1 to debrief and reflect on Peter’s experience building

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