What Makes Something Funny?


Answer: no one knows.  Science is clueless.  That’s why scientists don’t make good stand up comics.  Actually, that’s not true.  Physicists Neil deGrasse Tyson and Brian Greene are pretty funny.  Richard Feynman was too.  And of course who can forget Einstein’s silly faces.  About the science of it, they say it has to do with incongruity, surprise connections, unexpected conclusions, plays on words, timing.  In short, the bending of logic.  (Kinda like string theory, which is just hilarious.)  So maybe if you know how to reason, using the laws of logic, it makes sense that you’d also be able to see where the fallacies lie, and steer in that direction like a bus driver off a cliff.  Then, since your bus is fictional, the reader experiences a cheap thrill, and you’ve made their day.  See how it works?  Okay, maybe not.  As for Einstein, I shall be interviewing him too.  But that’s called satire, and seance.  And I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about pop culture, not having much of an ego himself…
Favorite Einstein Quotes:
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”
“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”
“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”
“Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.”
“Politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity.”
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
“The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.”
“A human being is a part of a whole, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Imagine Salmon Rushdie as a stand up comic. But if you’re a diehard sports fan with no sense of humor, you may have to sit down. The Umpire Has No Clothes: Diary of a Sports Atheist by Walter Witty is devil’s advocate blasphemy in the form of a 2 hour plus comedy album (ie. audiobook) with heretical facts long suppressed by the Supreme High Commissioner of Wiffleball and the NFL Dioceses, plus shocking interviews, quotes, stories, and a Lossary of Terms, all in laughsphemous format narrated by ESPN producer Barry Abrams. Save yourself or your spouse from a fate worse than gastrointestinal bypass, with rah-rah-revelations that may free you (or hubby) from that crumb-strewn couch. Sample:

ADDICTION– This is a psychological or physiological dependence on something. In the case of sports fans, the compulsion to watch men in tight shorts make repetitious and hypnotic movements with a sense of purpose that ultimately proves to be illusory.
AMELIORATE– To make better or improve. Using this word may also improve your love life if you happen to be in a Bachelor Pad with coeds looking to find a man who reads something other than the sports pages. Because you will never hear a sports announcer say, “that pass return truly ameliorated his rushing record.”
AMERICAN’T– What the Chinese call America, since Americans can’t stop watching sports long enough to manufacture anything. As part of their subversive campaign, the Chinese mimic our athletes and pretend to be enthralled with American culture, even as they steal military blueprints online and send the embarrassing stuff to Wikileaks.
ANGST– This is a feeling of trepidation or apprehension which may (or may not) be associated with witnessing your gray hair falling out in clumps after youʼve just arranged your trading card collection for the 8000th time.
CRAZY BOY– A special deluxe Lazy Boy model featuring heated and refrigerated coasters, a voice activated mini bar, a retractable cheese fountain, and a defibrillator.
JUST DO IT– A slogan once popular at Penn State, and now at the State Pen.
SPORTS BAR– A place of worship equipped with multiple wide-screen HDTVs, open on Sunday. Worshipers may maintain altars at home, too, for ritual sacrifices of lamb, steer, and chicken. But they may not dress in holy garments fanatically displaying the proper colors for ceremonial penitence unless their high priests aren’t “cooking” on the “gridiron.”
STUPORBOWL– A drinking contest held after the Super Bowl, usually by the losing team.
SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME– What happens to an obese fan whose cholesterol clotted heart has been living on borrowed time up until the moment he realizes that his lost wager may result in getting his kneecaps shattered by a guy named Vinny.
WAR– A game no one can win, although referees whose favorite song is “I think I can, I think I can” (ie. national anthems) pass out medals for individual skirmishes (battles) nonetheless. These medals are often made of the metal Unobtainium.


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