Right-wing authoritarians aren’t very funny [study]

“Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) has well-known links with humor appreciation, such as enjoying jokes that target deviant groups, but less is known about RWA and creative humor production – coming up with funny ideas oneself.” To test the ground, a research team from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the University of Pennsylvania, US, […]

Taking Laughter Seriously at the Supreme Court [study update]

Studies into possible implications of laughter episodes at the US Supreme Court were initiated in 2005 by Professor Jay D. Wexler (Boston University School of Law) who was the first to calculate the ‘Laughter Episodes Instigated Per Argument Average’ (LEIPAA) from the records of court proceedings. Details here in a 2016 Improbable Article. Then, in 2019, […]

How good are mathematicians at telling a joke?

You may have wondered how good mathematicians are at telling a joke. Here’s mathematician Henry Segerman telling a topology joke — the one about the coffee cup and the donut: Here’s another mathematician, Ian Agol, telling the same joke (filmed by Scientific American.) Here’s Jim Fowler making the joke wordlessly: Three anonymous, shy mathematicians make the […]

Jocular mockery (and mock impoliteness)

If someone Tweeted that you had a “face like monkfish genitalia” would you phone your legal team? Or LOL and tell everyone about it? [* see note below] That could depend on your enthusiasm (or otherwise) for ‘Jocular Mockery’. Which, along with its close cousin ‘Mock Impoliteness’ is examined by Professor Michael Haugh (of the […]

April Fools: Justified or Not Justified?

Should well-respected journalistic outlets publish ‘April Fools’ items? For Dr. Moira Smith, writing in the scholarly journal Folklore, Volume 120, Issue 3, 2009, such media hoaxes flout journalistic ethics. “On April Fools’ Day, journalists from every media take advantage of the occasion to pass off fabricated stories as news. While entertaining, these media hoaxes flout […]