Science of Humor: 3 Sure-Shot Ways To Create A Funny Joke

  • comments
  • print
  • email
Jan 09, 2017 12:52 PM EST

Robert Mankoff or Bob Mankoff is the cartoon editor of 'The New Yorker' magazine. As someone who has made his living as a cartoonist for over two decades, Bob offers his advice on what makes a joke funny and produces laughter.

Business Insider has released a video by Bob Mankoff in which he gives tips on how to create funny content. In the video, Bob says that jokes do not become funny due to a single thing but a number of factors.

Three things that induce laughter, according to Bob are:

  • Benign Violation: Things that can be right and wrong at the same time seem funny. Such situations present conflicted feelings. Humor becomes a way to regulate such emotions.
  • Incongruity: Matching up two things that just don't go together induce humor.
  • Surprise: Surprise can inspire fear, awe, and laughter. When you mean to create funny content, you have to better the 'bad'. In such cases, humor should be able to help people cope with situations that are difficult.

Most Hilarious Joke of All Times

UK researchers have found that funniest joke of the world is:

A man and a friend were playing golf on a local golf course. Just then, a long funeral procession passed on the road next to the course. The man stopped in mid-swing, took off his golf cap, and bowed his head in prayer. His friend said, "Wow! What a touching thing to do. You are really a sensitive man." The man shrugged and said, "Well! I owed her that. I was married to her for 35 years."

Simple Jokes are the Best

A research published in Springer's journal Human Nature in June 2016 found that jokes that were too complicated did not seem funny to the audience. Robin Dunbar and his colleagues at the Oxford University found that the funniest jokes generally had just two characters and up to five levels of 'intentionality'.

'Intentionality' refers to the quality of our mental states as directed towards some object or state of affairs. In other words, it means reflexive consciousness or being aware of the contents of our own mind. Dunbar conceives it as a 'hierarchically organized series of belief-states'.

The research found that a major component in a joke is to manipulate the expectations of a listener.

Join the Conversation
Real Time Analytics