Stories, comedy, comics, essays, and stuff

Your Mind is a Funny Thing

Welcome! Yes... the book cover design sucks. I'm working on it. Hopefully I'll have a better one in in a couple weeks. In the meantime, don't judge a book by its cover...?

Also, I don't know where else to put this link, but, a little while ago someone on Reddit asked, "ELI5: What makes our brains go "that was funny, now let's laugh"?" I posted an answer, and it generated a bunch of discussion, with people asking about my ideas on how humour works. I was pleasantly surprised, and a little relieved, that people were willing to take me seriously and consider my point of view on the matter. Anyway, it's a bunch of discussion on the topic that the book deals with, maybe check it out if you're into it.

Read Online

I'm going to put the first three chapters online, free to read. Each chapter is divided into a few sections, so I'll be releasing a section per week or so.

Start reading from the beginning.

Read the latest section

Table of contents

About the book

Yes, this is a completely pretentious thing to have written. How the sense of humour works in the human brain is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of neuroscience, and so who the hell am I to think I've cracked it. Also, in my experience, most people, even those completely unrelated in any way to performing or creating comedy, think they know what is funny and what humour is about, because when people laugh, they feel it so viscerally that they are sure they know why it was funny.

How humour works is a topic that exists in a sweet spot where almost no one is qualified to answer it objectively and everyone thinks they already know so everyone else's ideas are wrong anyway. Into that space I'm coming in as someone who neither has any particular scientific qualifications so why should anyone believe I know how the brain works, and I'm not a famous comedian so why should anyone think I know how funniness works better than anyone else?

Well, fuck it. I had an idea back around 2006 or so about how a sense of humour works. Who knows where ideas come from, it just kind of hit me from somewhere in the nexus of my drive to try and figure out how to make an audience laugh and my personal fascination with neuroscience. I felt I was onto something, and research led to confidence that maybe there was some merit in it, and eventually the ideas coalesced into a book.

So as you can tell, I am completely insecure about this. I feel like I have the right idea but that I'm just completely the wrong source. But what can you do? All you can do is put your ideas out into the world, and if there's something to them, then hopefully that will get acknowledged. Hopefully, I've made a good case for what I think is a workable hypothesis about how humour works, and if you're interested in the topic, I hope you'll take a look. And let me know what you think.