Alcoholics don't have a sense of humor

i-02473624c631cb0821d15fd03a1e0cc7-Drunk.JPGIt seems that alcoholics just can't seem to get a joke. In this study from Germany, participants underwent a series of tests including, mood, intelligence, memory, psychomotor skills, and their ability to enjoy a joke.

For example, one of the jokes tested on the subjects began as follows: It was Mother's Day. Anna and her brother had told their mother to stay in bed that morning. She read her book and looked forward to breakfast. After a long wait she finally went downstairs. Anna and her brother were both eating at the table.

The subjects were given a choice of five punchlines:
a) Anna said: "Hi mum, we didn't expect you to be awake so early."
b) Anna picked up an egg and smashed it on her brother's head.
c) Her brother said: "We have a new teacher at our school."
d) Anna said: "It's a surprise for Mother's Day. We cooked our own breakfast."

So which one was funny according to the scientists?

It seems that 'd' was the correct answer (although I like c!) and alcoholics only correctly identified it 68% of the time instead of the 92% of the control subjects.

The researchers seem to think that these results occurred because "Alcoholics also fared less well in the working memory tests and mentalising ability tests, prompting speculation that deficits in these areas can impact upon a problem drinker's capacity to understand jokes and find them funny,"

What do you think? Perhaps if they were given some alcohol before the test they'd do just as well as the normal population and even do a little better!

Here's the news report of the article. The research is published in the journal Addiction

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Hmm, couple of problems with this. The main one being, that the joke is not remotely funny. Often something that is key to a series of sentances becoming a joke. If you were absolutely wasted I could see how this becomes even more confusing.

I perform stand-up comedy 4-5 times a week on the UK circuit and although I hate performing to severly drunk audiences, they nearly always are. And trust me, they find most things funny, although you might have to really lower the intelligence of the joke and include as much swearing as possible. And you might say, well those are just people who are drinking, that does not make them alcoholics. Well, trust me, everyone in places such as Ilkeston are alcoholics. :-)

Lastly, surely this factually states more than anything else that it is proven that German scientists cant write jokes for sh*t.


That is only an example of a joke they used... I'm praying they used many many more and hopefully some of them were funny ;)

Tiernan... actually... you're a comedian! Lets hear something funny! hahah... (ohh yeah.. and Germans might not have a sense of humor which would be another problem with the jokes)

I drink a lot. I can't even conceive of a punchline to that setup that would make it into a joke, never mind a good one. The four options presented certainly don't come close.

I dunno. b) and c) are funny, in that odd absurdist style (although not very).

The whole article seems to have gone over Tiernan's head. (a) They weren't inebriated when the test was conducted. (b) We don't evidence that the people who go to comedy clubs aren't alcoholic (any more than gen. pop.) and (c) a control group *did* think one answer was much funnier than the others, and (d) the joke was okay funny (maybe one needs to be a parent or something).

Of course, he's going to get defensive and say his whole post was a joke. That would be funny.

This dovetails nicely with the annoying piece Christopher Hitchens recently wrote about how women just aren't funny. Now I see that it's not just misogynism that led him to that conclusion, but his drinking too.

e) Mum said: "Sorry, I had to come down and wash the skillet. The dog peed in it last night."

By cyber_rigger (not verified) on 25 Jan 2007 #permalink

Why would a dog pee in a skillet?

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