The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny

The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny

by Peter McGraw, Joel Warner
3.7 6

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The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny by Peter McGraw, Joel Warner

Part road-trip comedy and part social science experiment, a scientist and a journalist “shed fascinating light on what makes us laugh and why” (New York Post).

Two guys. Nineteen experiments. Five continents. 91,000 miles. The Humor Code follows the madcap adventures and oddball experiments of Professor Peter McGraw and writer Joel Warner as they discover the secret behind what makes things funny. In their search, they interview countless comics, from Doug Stanhope to Louis CK and travel across the globe from Norway to New York, from Palestine to the Amazon. It’s an epic quest, both brainy and harebrained, that culminates at the world’s largest comedy festival where the pair put their hard-earned knowledge to the test.

For the first time, they have established a comprehensive theory that answers the question “what makes things funny?” Based on original research from the Humor Research Lab (HuRL) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the pair’s experiences across the globe, The Humor Code explains the secret behind winning the New Yorker cartoon caption contest, why some dead baby jokes are funnier than others, and whether laughter really is the best medicine.

Hilarious, surprising, and sometimes even touching, The Humor Code “lays out a convincing theory about how humor works, and why it’s an essential survival mechanism” (Mother Jones).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451665437
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 348,549
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Peter McGraw, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder where he directs HuRL (the Humor Research Lab), is a leading expert in the interdisciplinary fields of emotion and behavioral economics. His work has been covered by NPR, Nightline, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, The New York Times and the BBC. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Joel Warner, an award-winning former staff writer for Westword, Denver’s alternative newsweekly, has written for Wired, The Boston Globe, Slate, Grantland, and other publications. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

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The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretending to be serious journalists writing about humor. As journalist they come off as wannabes. And they managed to write an unhumorous book about humor. Waste of time.
B-loNY More than 1 year ago
Started out ok and then tried to find humor in Japan, Palestine and the Amazon to fill up pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ChazToomey More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book. This book does an extremely good job explaining the basics of what funny is. Mcgraw and Warner travel throughout  the world to discover where funny exists and why people find those things funny. The book shows the theory of benign violations that shows there are times where you  violate something benign  making it funny. It basically states you can cross the boundaries without actually imposing an offensive attitude, making things humorous. Overall great book, really love the experiments conducted throughout the book to see the diversity of funny throughout the world. 
KKuKKuKKaKKa More than 1 year ago
‘The Humor Code’ the sub title of the book is ‘A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny’ There are two guy ‘Peter’ and ‘Joel’ who tried to find the answers of from the what is funny, what is humor, to what is the meaning of humor in our life. They were traveling quite many of countries and trying to figure out something funny in those places, analyzing the humor in the funny things they found. Humor could be from anywhere and any situation.  It is too vast and wide that even some people could not understand because of cultural differences, because of required background knowledge, or because of different perspective of humor. This book is showing us more details of humor that we usually just laugh and does not really think of it.  My personal best chapter was Chapter six Scandinavia: Does Humor Have a Dark Side? This chapter was talking about controversial part of humor like humiliation.  Muhammad cartoon makes Muslim so angry it becomes international issue in this book. Even some people died because of this cartoon. There are two different views one is freedom of speech and people should just let them keep working on their sense of humor. Humor is innocent itself, even though it is really cruel. Other view is that humiliation and making fun of people should not consider as humor.  This chapter reminds me of the cartoon South Park the most offensive TV show ever made. It is my favorite show.  This show has Racist, sexual, violent, and so on so many uncomfortable scenes but all are considered as a funny things. That is exactly my kind of humor.  Same kind of joke it has as this chapter. Reading this part was really fun to me. Now I can enjoy this kind of controversial humor with the supportive argument. Also I know how sophisticated and how wonderful the humor is.   This book gave me deeper perspective of humor and critical thinking of humor. Humor is one of the most beautiful things in our life.  Humor is not just we are laughing about but it is also everything of our life. It reflects our culture, our thoughts, and our values. I personally believe that this study should have been working much earlier than this. Studying humor is studying our life. It is the one of the greatest thing ever to study about for our life.  I was really enjoying the reading and studying this book. Good job Peter! And Joel! These guys are awesome. Keep working on it!   
RoJack More than 1 year ago
The Humor Code took on a very interesting perspective when diving into the world of humor. McGraw and Warner explore many different aspects of the “funny” when trying to figure out the what, as well as the how to when it comes to making people laugh. Their findings most specifically relate to places, as you’ll see with each chapter of the book going to a different part of the world. The situations that Peter and Joel objected themselves to were rather interesting but with reason. Each chapter you learned just how the situation led to the conclusion and it shined a lot of light on the question posed at the beginning of the chapter. Definitely a comical take on a question most people don’t even think about. A great read if you’re interested in diving deeper than the surface on this topic.
Kimmyz1 More than 1 year ago
The Humor Code was an interesting read! It made me think about the reasons why I, and others, laugh at certain situations. I love they way Peter and Joel put themselves in awkward or embarrassing situations in order to draw conclusions on what makes things funny. Both Mcgraw and Warner came up with great equations and diagrams that depict the funny in our every day lives. I do not think I would buy this to read for fun, but it is a good book if you are interested in how funny works in our world.