Flash Post: Wired Magazine’s take on humor research.

Wired magazine dedicates its May issue to comedy. In it, Joel Warner addresses the science of humor.


My favorite passage documents my meeting with comedian Louis C.K.:

McGraw gets the go-ahead, and with curtain time closing in, he’s soon sitting in the presence of his idol. The comedian slumps into a chair, the toll of weeks on the road apparent on his face. Knowing that he has only a few minutes, McGraw gives a nutshell version of his well-honed spiel. He lays out the BVT and describes the tickling conundrum that killed at the humor symposium. But CK cuts him off. “I don’t think it’s that simple,” he says, directing as much attention to a preshow ham sandwich as to McGraw. “There are thousands of kinds of jokes. I just don’t believe that there’s one explanation.”

Oof, tough room. His research dismissed, McGraw casts about for another subject of inquiry. Luckily, he’d polled fellow attendees for questions while waiting for an audience with CK. “A woman in the lobby wants to know how big your penis is,” he says.

CK cracks the faintest of smiles, shakes his head. “I am not going to answer that.”

“I wouldn’t either,” McGraw says. With a chuckle he adds, “But I’ve heard that if you don’t answer that, it means it’s small.”

And no, I was not misquoted.

As seen on The Today Show

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