Do computers understand comedy?
The recent leaps in Artificial Intelligence prompted us at Applause Break to ponder that very question. Rather than keeping the discussion in the realm of academia, we elected to give it a shot.
We asked our new ComedyBot some simple questions:
- What do humans find funny?
- Why do they find those things funny?
- What can comedians do to become funnier?
While the answer it produced is a bit superficial, we were surprised – and impressed – by the ComedyBot’s answer to those questions. As a service to the South Florida comedy community, we’re presenting it in full, below. As an added bonus, the ComedyBot also generated the above graphic to accompany this story.
What do people find funny and why do they laugh at stand-up comedy?
The world is a funny place. We laugh at jokes and find humor in the oddest things. Why do we do this? More importantly, why is it that one person can crack up over something while another person doesn’t get it? The answer to these questions is complex, but this article will help you understand what makes a joke funny and why some things are the funniest of all.
Comedy is subjective.
Comedy is subjective. What’s funny to one person may not be funny to another, but we all have an idea of what makes us laugh and why. In fact, our definitions of what’s funny are so personal that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to determining what makes people laugh at stand-up comedy.
When reading through the factors below, think about which ones apply (or don’t apply) as well as which ones may apply differently depending on whether you’re talking about yourself versus someone else!
Things that are unexpected are funny.
Surprise is the most important element of humor. In fact, one study found that surprise accounts for 62% of what makes people laugh out loud at a joke. When you hear a punchline or joke that you didn’t expect, this causes your brain to fire more neurons than it normally would and gives you an extra burst of dopamine—the feel-good hormone that helps regulate our emotions and behaviors.
In fact, there’s even evidence that being surprised can make you more attractive: when scientists asked participants in their study to rate photos of smiling men with dimples (people with dimples are associated with happiness), they consistently ranked them higher than those without. This suggests that if someone’s face has been shown to elicit a positive reaction from others through surprise—which is often associated with humor—then they’ll be considered more attractive by society at large as well!
Incongruity can be funny.
Incongruity can be funny. It’s when two things don’t seem to belong together. For example, a person might laugh at the sight of a cat wearing pants or someone talking about their first day at work in a job they hate.
Or they might laugh when they see a man with no legs standing up on his own two feet and walking down the street.
This may seem strange, but incongruity can also make us think and feel differently about something familiar. Sometimes, this is what makes it funny!
Things that are true and false are funny.
Truth and lies are funny.
We often think of comedians as being people who lie, which is why they make us laugh. But the truth can also be funny: It’s hard to believe that anyone could think that something is true, especially when it’s obviously false. Just like a lie, though, if you say something funny enough times with conviction and enthusiasm—and then add some funny words and gestures to go along with it—people will believe you! The more you say it, the funnier it gets until finally everyone laughs at whatever ridiculous angle of reality you’ve constructed for them (and themselves).
It might help if we give some examples:
When comedians tell you why something is funny, it can lose a lot of its humor.
It can be easy to get frustrated when you’re trying to explain a joke and the other person doesn’t find it funny. In some cases, it’s because they don’t understand your explanation. But this is also true in reverse: if you try to explain why something is funny, it often loses its humor.
When comedians tell you why something is funny, it can lose a lot of its humor. It’s better for everyone involved if the comedian just tells them what happened instead of explaining how that situation led them to think about another thing or person that makes them laugh in turn. This way your audience gets all the information they need without having their perspective interrupted by too many details or explanations.
Comedians often have “bits” they use often.
A “bit” is a funny story or joke that comedians use for their act. They can be repeated, but should not be repeated too often as it’s important to have some variety in your set. Bits can also be used to develop a character and theme. For example, if you are doing stand up about being an airline pilot, you may want to develop a bit about how pilots get paid more than flight attendants because of their high-stress jobs (and most people think this makes sense). By developing this one bit and making it funny through repetition and other elements like facial expressions or body language, you will have developed two things: 1) the idea that pilots get paid more than flight attendants because they have higher stress levels; 2) the character of someone who thinks this makes sense (which could also lead into another joke involving how much money they make). Another possibility is telling stories where something happens that results in laughter; these stories usually involve characters with quirks which lead them into situations where they end up looking foolish.
This blog post is not very funny, but it could be useful to someone trying to write humor.
I’ve been working on a joke for a while now, and I think it’s going to be pretty funny. There are a few things I want to try out before I submit it for publication, though:
- The joke is about zombies and vampires. This might not be something that people are familiar with when they read my blog post, so I should give some background information on what they’re like so that people know what they’re supposed to be laughing at. It should be obvious from the title of this blog post that zombies and vampires exist in real life (though there are different kinds), but just in case someone isn’t sure about that, I’ll need to make sure my introduction makes sense.
- The joke also has some dark humor in it because one of the characters gets stabbed through the head by another character’s sword as part of an epic battle scene between them both—so obviously this person dies at some point during their fight! Basically all jokes have some sort of twist ending or surprise element in them somewhere; otherwise how would anyone feel anything? But please don’t get me wrong here; we shouldn’t go overboard with these types of jokes either…
We laugh when something is unexpected. We also laugh when we are happy and relaxed. But why do some things make us laugh more than others? A lot of comedy is about understanding the human condition and helping us deal with the non-stop insanity of daily life. In other words, stand-up comedy can be viewed as a form of therapy where a comedian pokes fun at his or her own life experiences in order to help others cope with their own problems.
That’s why many comedians have turned towards politics lately: they’re using humor as a way to vent their frustrations with current events while also making people think more deeply about what it means to be alive right now.”}, “Title”: “What do people find funny and why do they laugh at stand-up comedy?