The Humor Code

  • by Peter McGraw, Joel Warner
  • Narrated by Peter Berkrot
  • 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Dr. Peter McGraw, founder of the Humor Research Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder, teamed up with journalist Joel Warner on a far-reaching search for the secret behind humor. Their journey spanned the globe, from New York to Japan, from Palestine to the Amazon. Meanwhile, the duo conducted their own humor experiments along the way-to wince-worthy, hilarious, and illuminating results. In their quixotic search, they questioned countless experts, from comedians like Louis C. K. to rat-tickling researchers, and answered pressing (and not-so-pressing) questions such as, "What's the secret to winning the New Yorker cartoon caption contest?"; "Who has the bigger funny bone - men or women, Democrats or Republicans?"; and "Is laughter really the best medicine?" As a final test, McGraw uses everything they learned to attempt stand-up-at the largest comedy festival in the world. Funny, surprising, and often touching, The Humor Code is a revealing exploration of humor, society, and an unusual friendship.


What the Critics Say

"It's not often you can say a book about comedy can teach us some serious lessons. This one does-and entertains us in the process." (Booklist Starred Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Real research and a scientific theory of humor!

Where does The Humor Code rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Pretty far up there. A unique niche of science that yields a fascinating tool for understanding what makes us laugh..... the Benign Violation Theory.

What did you like best about this story?

How the author and researcher actually delved into the world of funny, not just in our culture, but many disparate cultures, even other species, like chimps and mice. This also included making a fool of himself on several occasions (like bombing at a comedy club)

Which character – as performed by Peter Berkrot – was your favorite?

The authors journalist friend, who more or less wrote the book in the first person as her accompanied Dr Peter McGraw

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Want to? I did.

Any additional comments?

Totally underrated book, could have been a best seller with a better title and cover.

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- Dubito Ergo Sum

I really wanted to like this book

What would have made The Humor Code better?

There were some interesting things in this book such as when they went to Japan and discussed why Japanese comedy is so different. However, much of the book felt like a collection of stories that were documented on their journey to discover what makes something funny. It felt like the stories were included based on whether they happened rather than if they were interesting or insightful stories. The book dragged on. They did some nice things such as how current social events affect humor. However, they did so much of this that I felt like I was listening to someone providing social views instead of providing me insight into comedy. The book is tiring to get through.

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- Robert J. Herman

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-06-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio