The Humor Code

The Humor Code

A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny

Book - 2014
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Part road-trip comedy and part social science experiment, a scientist and a journalist travel the globe to discover the secret behind what makes things funny, questioning countless experts, including Louis C.K., along the way
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2014
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781451665413
Characteristics: xv, 239 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Warner, Joel


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Oct 23, 2015

The Humor Code will not make anybody funnier. Some people are born better athletes than others, some better musicians because they just 'get it' and so some people are just naturally funnier than others so live with it.
This book does provide an interesting contrast of 'funny' in different parts of the world. Well written, it may prove useful reading as one of a number on this subject.

Sep 29, 2014

A mostly entertaining look at what makes things funny, by a humor professor and a journalist. Although you won't find any great truths here, there are plenty of smaller ones among inside looks at standup comedy, the value of clowns, and other humor-related topics.

Apr 26, 2014


I'll state my opinion FIRST, then I'll tell you the rationale behind it. Here goes:

I'm glad I read the book. But I bought it, and I regret buying it.

I shoulda checked to see if the library had it before making the impulse purchase, but alas I did not.

The book was a thorough exloration of humor, so the authors were able to shed light on the subject from multiple angles, some of which I had never even considered before. Well done in that regard.

It also reads like a science book - and I'm a fan of science writing - so I liked those qualities as well, citing studies and surveys and all in all, it was well researched.

My beef, though, is that it was written so dryly, it got boring in a lot of places, and it pissed me off.

The book's jacket synopsis also name-dropped Louis CK, who is absolutely hilarious as well as thoroughly self-aware, so I figured if they were gonna interview HIM, he could give a very lucid description of humor and its mechanisms.

The authors totally botched that chance, though. The standup legend only made a brief appearance, maybe a couple paragraphs or so.

Then, there is the actual thesis, the theory of humor the authors put forth. Theories are theories, I get it, but immediately I could think of exceptions to the "benign violation" model they are preaching. There's even mention (in passing) of a whole class of jokes that are what would be considered "violations", but never even come close to qualifying as being benign.

The authors don't address this, though, they bring these jokes up as a means to illustrate something unrelated to their hypothesis, like the way jokes take root and spread or something like that.

Anyway, all in all it might be interesting to read, but DO NOT buy this book.

I don't think declaring this at a library is necessary, but just in case, heed my warning!


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