The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny
THE HUMOR CODE by Dr. Peter McGraw and Joel Warner is an eye-opening, in-depth exploration unlike anything before it. Their book pulls back the veil that has long since shrouded the world of humor, revealing that there is humor everywhere --- you just need to pay attention.
"If you consider yourself a humorous person, I suggest you pick up this book. It will permanently change the way you see funny."
Warner’s descriptive and intimate narration makes for a most fascinating read. Normally, following two men through experimentation on different continents isn’t so enduring, but Warner’s voice takes readers by the hand and never lets go. It helps weave readers into this long journey and keeps them flipping through the pages like they are gripped in a great suspense novel. His journalistic skills are very much in use here.
It is Dr. McGraw’s theory that spurs the adventure. Warner met McGraw in his Humor Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder. The benign violation theory seems to have its counterpart theories beat, but McGraw thinks he can prove it through observation and experimentation.
The idea that two men could re-imagine the long foundation that is humor seems improbable, but Warner and McGraw unearthed the truth behind what makes humor so subjective and yet so universal. They explore what makes a good stand-up comic and a winning entry in the New Yorker caption contest, while also delving into how humor has evolved around the world.
THE HUMOR CODE is a wildly eventful book that discovers what humor really means. It creates a scientific way to examine humor that trumps all the other theories before it. If you consider yourself a humorous person, I suggest you pick up this book. It will permanently change the way you see funny.
Reviewed by Robert Doyle on April 4, 2014