Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I Need My Sarcasm...That's My Security Blanket, Innit?

Got linked to this article about the science of humor via Andrew Sullivan. It's a terrifying glimpse of things to come:

The real news is that the investigation of humour is belatedly becoming a science. After millennia of untested speculation by armchair thinkers, moves are afoot to bring the study of laughter into the mainstream of experimental psychology. As Rod Martin, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, notes in his textbook "The Psychology of Humor", which was published last year, humour is found in all human cultures and is ubiquitous in everyday life. His own studies suggest that on average people laugh 17.5 times per day.

Let's think this through, people...Nothing ruins a joke more than having to explain it to someone. Why, just today, I attempted to explain a visual pun to a co-worker. The image was a military carrier with a bunch of cats lined up on it. In other words, a cat carrier. Ho ho. Anyway, nothing will make you feel like a dingus faster than explaining a visual pun to someone.

"So, you see, there's this carrier..."
"I thought that was a telephone pole."
"Yeah, it does kind of...Oh, forget it."

These researchers don't just want to explain one joke. They want to explain everything that makes jokes work. This will clearly result in the creation of a "humor black hole," in which, by trying to figure out why funny things are funny, scientists will, in a split-second, render everything unfunny forever. And that, my friends, would suck for all of us, except the members of Broken Lizard, whose unfunny movies would now have significantly diminished box office competition.

Just imagine it. I tell you a really terrific dirty joke, and you respond, "Oh, well, that is exactly the sort of unexpected anecdotal denouement that I once found ribaldly amusing, because while we assume initially that the black and the white men's penises are the same size, in fact, once we arrive at the close of the discourse, we come to realize that the black man's is, truthfully, far more expansive. What a legendary wit you would have been before the great Clown-Out of '09!"

[Also, 17.5 laughs a day? Really? Canadians are some goofy motherfuckers. If you get in a solid chuckle during a workday at a typical American office, you're ahead of the game!]