Wednesday, March 30, 2016

America's Funny and Unfunny Cities

What is America's funniest city and how are America's funniest and unfunniest cities determined? This, dear readers, is a matter of speculation and debate. However, professor Peter McGraw and his Humor Research Lab manfully stepped into the breech, and came up with metrics including:

1. Over 900 interviews with citizens of larger cities

2. The number of comedy clubs per square mile

3. Traveling comedians' ratings of each cities' audiences in comedy clubs

4. Density of famous funny tweeters locally

5. Number of comedy radio stations available locally

6. Frequency of visits to Cheezburger and other web sites.

7. Frequency of humor-related web searches coming from each city

Obviously, this study had a built-in bias towards larger cities. I can't see Knoxville, Lexington, Asheville, or Joplin making the list. There is also a tendency to overlook small towns' places for local comedy, like cafes, gas stations, or City Hall. Besides, the first category of data collection in effect excluded mid- and smaller-sized cities from consideration. 
According to the research, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta top the list of America’s funniest cities. The four largest cities on the West Coast are big on comedy and being funny. Texas, the Southwest, and Florida seem to be humor-challenged. And it's incredible that Las Vegas made the bottom ten!
What are possible developments resulting from this research? Many communities will simply go into denial, saying that they're very funny but their humor is too cerebral to be understood by clods. Others might take a bootstrap approach, requiring a mandatory humor class in school and offering tax incentives to possible comedy clubs. On the other side, some communities might consider being thought of as "funny" does not go with the corporate image they are trying to cultivate. I see Seattle as one possibility; but midwestern cities might wish to move from unrecognized to least funny. Cleveland, for example. Having to cope with Cleveland jokes for a generation will do that to some places.

Some places, otherwise unsung, might hope to turn its listed in the 10 funniest cities into a tourism and economic asset. Think of what a boon that would be for Shreveport. And suddenly football teams might become more thrilled at getting an invitation to the Liberty Bowl!


Anemone said...

When did Los Angeles become funny?

John Hill said...

I guess Missouri and Tennessee fall somewhere in the middle of funny and not funny, eh, Angel?

Linda Kay said...

I'm not surprised at my Texas results. People here are pretty serious, and carry guns!

Cloudia said...

"places for local comedy, like cafes, gas stations, or City Hall. " City Hall = laugh or cry!

another interesting and well done gambit, Angel!

Brandi said...

New York owns funny. Not Birmingham.

Mike said...

Washington DC is funny? Now that's funny!

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Washington sometimes makes me want to cry.

Tennessee is middleish funny, I guess.

allenwoodhaven said...

Very interesting. Glad you find such things to pass on to us. I wonder how different types of humor (slapstick, puns, cerebral, observational, etc.) would vary geographically. I've never met anyone without some type of a sense of humor; it's just a matter of what they think is funny.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

I see Tucson made the Bottom 10 list but I'm surprised Phoenix wasn't right there next to it. There's nuttin' funny about Phoenix (since I moved out of it).

~ D-FensDogG
'Loyal American Underground'

Mariette said...

How did Miami make the bottom ten?

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Fascinating. I would have expected NY to top this list but perhaps the state as a whole brings the grade point average of the city that brought us Seinfeld and Friends and SNL and I was going to say Taxi, but that was produced in LA. Upstate NYC residents will be banging at my door with flaming torches now.