CU-Boulder has a humor lab, and they've discovered the 10 funniest US cities

CU-Boulder has a humor lab, and they've discovered the 10 funniest US cities

CultureApril 23, 2014

Turns out CU-Boulder can appreciate a good joke, even when it doesn't involve fish-fertilizer and a certain stoner holiday. That's because, unbeknownst to most everyone, they have a Humor Research Lab, which has recently come out with a thoroughly scientific ranking of the 10 funniest cities in the US.

But that's not all: they also studied the particular type of humor each city favors. Denver, not surprisingly, loves weed jokes and this meme:

To come up with the list, the Humor Lab measured patterns in comedy-based activity like the number of visits to Cheezburger websites, comedy clubs per square mile, touring comedians’ ratings of comedy club audiences, the percentage of funny tweeters and famous comedians born in each city, and the number of humor-related web searches in the city. Then, they surveyed over 900 residents to understand the types of humor they relate to and each city’s local flavor of laughs.

Here's what they found:

1. Chicago won, thanks to its focus on improvisational comedy and contextual comments rather than basic jokes. That’s no surprise, based on the city’s larger-than-life improv scene that’s churned out pretty much every Saturday Night Live legend you can think of.

2. Boston features dry, sarcastic, booze-fueled humor alongside a steady stream of blue-collar jokes.

3. Atlanta‘s humor is often based on race relations or stereotypes, but not without a few “redneck”-style jokes a la Jeff Foxworthy.

4. Washington, D.C. lives for political jokes, not surprisingly. According to one survey participant, the humor is shaped by smart, miserable people — and let’s be real, that’s the perfect breeding ground for comedy.

5. Portland‘s breed of humor is just plain odd. Portlandian humor seems to live within an inside joke that outsiders don’t always quite understand. It’s all about the quirkiness.

6. New York favors fast-paced, stressed-out humor — no surprises there. The humor veers toward the dark and serves as a form of stress release.

7. Los Angeles prefers cynical cracks at show biz and pop culture.

8. Denver makes a whole lot of pot jokes. Denver comedy tends to be relaxed and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

9. San Francisco features humor that fluctuates between intellectual, tech-fueled jokes and commentary on the city’s liberal leanings and quirky characters.

10. Seattle humor is intellectual and self-serving, with a focus on the city’s start-up culture and endless supply of coffee.

Also, weirdly and somewhat insultingly, the study picked out this joke as the best representation of Denver's comedy style.

A  piece of string walks into a bar.  Bartender won't serve him, saying, ‘We don't serve string.’ String goes outside, ruffles his cut end, and goes back into the bar.  Bartender says, ‘Aren't you the piece of string that 
was just in here?’ The string replies, "No, I'm a frayed knot."

Yeah, you definitely have to be high for that one.