Do you have a friend who’s really funny, and you always wonder how on earth they got that way? It turns out that it may be caused by depression or other self-esteem issues. Most people after watching a comedian or really funny movie will notice that they don’t seem nearly as funny as the characters they watched, no matter how hard they try. This is because your brain needs to be in a state of anxiety, fear, or sadness which then triggers a response that makes being funny easier. To get more information, we sat down with Dr. Robert Carson*, from the Institute of Radical Emotions, and delved deeper into the psychological issue that is “humor”.
“Well, it’s important to remember that not every sad person gets the ‘humor response’ from their brains. Really only a small percentage of people get it, so we started out by recruiting several well known comedians. These comedians ranked relatively high on the schwartz-heinrich humor scale, and so we tried to see what we had to do to make then not funny anymore. We started with water depravation, since we always see comedians drinking while they perform. While we did have one guy pass out, we’re pretty sure it was just because he stayed up too late the night before. Next we tried gassing them with a skunk. This did seem to anger most of the comedians, but they were still pretty funny, maybe even funnier. After a couple other unsuccessful things, we finally gave them “happy pills”. To this day, I’m not entirely sure what was in those things, but the comedians all got super happy right away. While the one comedian did pass out again, the rest managed to stay awake, and were not being funny at all. When asked to tell a joke, they would get this silly grin on their face, and then tell the worst knock-knock jokes we have ever heard. It was a real breakthrough.”
We also got a chance to talk to one of the comedians (not the one who kept passing out, since he was taken to the hospital. bummer.) to see what they thought of the results, and why they had agreed to participate in the study.
“Man, I had no idea we were doing a study on being funny. I met a guy at a party who said they were giving out free sandwiches or something, so I was like ‘Hey, I like sandwiches’, so I decided to go. When they said we wouldn’t be able to drink anything, I thought it was kinda weird, but I mean, I was promised a sandwich, not a drink, so I just rolled with it. At some point a skunk got in there. I was freaking out, but I think they accidentally locked the door to get out, so I was pounding on it, screaming that I was gonna die. Honestly, the next few things that happened were pretty weird, like a girl painted to look like a cactus came in and was trying to sing karaoke, and then I think I saw an anaconda, but I heard some people yelling and a man came in and took that out. Eventually this shady-lookin’ dude walks in and gives me a little pill, and tells me it’s a sandwich-enhancement-vitamin. At this point, I was just glad to hear about my sandwich again, so I just took it real quick. I don’t really remember a lot after that, in fact, I don’t even think I got a sandwich, but it’s all a blur.”
Dr. Carson* assured me that the comedians were told what was actually being done, and that some of them must have just gotten confused. We tried to find some of the other comedians, but Dr. Carson* said they must have left already. Currently, the plan is to test their theory out again on a regular group of people and see if the responses are any different. He also offered us a sandwich if we came back later, but we just didn’t have time today.
What do you think? Can happy pills really make being funny harder? Let us know in the comments below.
* Name changed for anonymity