Science Isn't Funny At All





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Published on Mar 30, 2012

Puppet vaudevillians Mulberry and Boone explore the science of humor and fail to find humor in science. A big shout out to my friends at mental_floss magazine (http://www.mentalfloss.com/) - they've published this year's FUN ISSUE.


Mulberry: Hello Mr. Boone!
Boone: Hello Mr. Mulberry -- how's it going?
M: Funny you should ask...

M: I've always thought myself a very funny man
B: It's a view that very few have shared
M: But there's one thing I didn't understand?
B: Just one?
When humor hits the brain, what's going on up there?

So I went a professor and he showed to me
A little electroencephalography

The left inferior frontal gyrus analyzes semantics
And discovers incongruity

And the insular cortex's bilateral antics
Let you know that it's funny

And when that joke hits your nucleus accumbens
It's a rush beyond compare
And let me tell you something
When that dopamine starts flowing --

B: Let me stop you right there
Listen sonny,
I know funny
And science isn't funny at all.

M: Oh no, Mr. Boone?
B: No, Mr. Mulberry!
M: Well, how about this scientifical joke: Knock Knock
B: Who's there?
M: Sarah
B: Sarah who?
M: Cerebellum!
B: Sarah way I can get you to stop singing?
M: Nope!

Oh when your larynx is constricted by your epiglottis
That's involuntary vocalization
And as Robert Provine taught us
It's a common form of social lubrication

Perhaps when humans were evolving
Laughter signalled false alarm
Or helped us out in solving
False assumptions that we made

B: You make me want to break your arm!

M: You mean my humerus?

This song's encyclopedic
But not very comedic
And science isn't funny at all.

M: Well now back at the professor's I was ready to leave
But he started to reach for his top shelf
He said, "I've got a some papers here you really should read."
And then he spilled his coffee all over himself

Both: We're not dummies (Well, I'm not)
And we know funny
Science can be funny after all!


Mulberry: Hey Mr. Boone?
Boone: Yes Mr. Mulberry...
M: Did I ever tell you about my friend the neuron?
B: All your friends are morons ...
M: My friend the neuron went to get a job at a shoe store and the boss was really impressed by his resume!
B: Oh really?
M: The boss said he had great potential!
B: And ... did he do a good job?
M: Not so much -- he was a bipolar and had trouble controlling his impulses.
B: I bet that made his boss mad!
M: Yep, he said, "I never want to see you in this and the store again." Well the neuron said "Fat chance, boss."
B: Why's that?
M: Neurons keep working even after their fired.

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