Stories, comedy, comics, essays, and stuff



Dedicated to my Mom and Dad, who, in their separate ways, taught me something more important than what to know:

How to learn.


My sincere thanks to all the following people who helped me with this book.

My cousin Dr Vanessa Auld, who messes with the minds of fruit flies at the University of British Columbia, for her patient answering of all my neuroscience questions. Cees van Leeuwen, professor at KU Leuven, who was at Riken BSI at the time I spoke to him, for his explanation of how the brain works holistically. Jane Clark for her very detailed proofreading of my book. I had to make yet more changes after she was done, so any errors still present are mine, not hers. My friends Wayde Compton, Dax Oliver, and Chris Wells for their feedback on my far too lengthy early drafts. Thanks also to the Tokyo Comedy Store and all its members, for being my laboratory. I couldn't possibly list all the standups and improvisors who have helped me get funnier over the years, but to a name a few, Spring Day, Huw Lloyd, Michael Naishtut, and Ken Suzuki. For the audiobook version, Lindsay Nelson, Vinay Murthy, Jon Sabay, and Aziz Vora for reading the quotes that accompany every section. Jack Merluzzi for putting up with all my audio recording and editing questions.

Lastly, thanks to all the countless people who have had to suffer me over analyzing comedy for the seven years or more that I spent working on this book.