Is good comedy a conspiracy? Matt Kirshen tells why.

I saw that Matt Kirshen (@mattkirshen) was performing at Denver’s Comedy Works. I cornered him in the alley and asked him:

Is good comedy a conspiracy?

Matt’s observation reminds me of the “minimal groups paradigm” in the psychology literature. Basically, you can take a bunch of strangers and arbitrarily create two groups (e.g., by having them count off odd and even numbers), and almost immediately people will like the members of their group and not like the members of the other group. In this way, a comedian who creates a group atmosphere can enhance the audience’s experience.

His answer also highlights the two-way relationship between humor and social bonding. Research shows that humor can improve social bonds, but conversely, building social bonds also improves humor.

Check out Matt on his recent appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: