Knock knock. Who’s there? New York, coming all the way in sixth place on the list of America’s funniest cities!
Uh, we mean, New York who? Dammit, we aren’t very good at these things.
The Humor Research Lab located in — where else — Denver, took a full nine months to determine which of the country’s cities were the funniest. New York, for all its bright lights, flashy shows and comedy clubs, failed to crack the top five.
Chicago topped the list, with Boston coming in second. The three and four spots were snatched up by Atlanta and Washington respectively, and Portland of all places pushed the Big Apple out of the top five.
“Behind Portland? Come on!,” Caroline Hirsch, founder of New York comedy staple Carolines on Broadway, told the Observer. “Of course I’m biased but with all due respect. I think New York is far and away the funniest city in America.”
Whether or not Ms. Hirsch is correct was based on a number of factors:
- Number of comedy clubs per square mile in each city
- Traveling comedians’ ratings of each city’s comedy-club audiences
- Number of famous comedians born in each city, divided by city population
- Number of famous funny tweeters living in each city, divided by city population
- Number of comedy radio stations available in each city
- Frequency of humor-related web searches originating in each city
“We’re nerds,” Peter McGraw, the University of Colorado professor that compiled the research, told The New York Times. “We spent hours tossing about what are the right attributes to include in the humor algorithm. I think the fun part for readers will be debating whether we got it right.”
Upright Citizen’s Brigade co-founder Matt Besser was, to say the least, opposed to the study.
“It is in Denver? Maybe smoke the joint after you calculate the numbers,” Mr. Besser said. “That is completely stoned logic. Does more…theaters equal funnier? New York I know has about three improv theaters, Chicago a dozen. That means Chicago’s Improv is funnier?”
Mr. Besser called in to question the qualifications that the study took in to account. For him, it should be all about quality over quantity.
“One factor that should have been included for sure – experience,” he said. “Number of years of experience per comedian. Otherwise, what the fuck makes you a comedian? Just declaring you are a comedian?”
As for the competition?
“Number of comedy nerd per capita, Portland wins that, yeah,” Mr. Besser told us. “Otherwise, you take your top ten comedians from any city, I’ll bet on L.A. and New York. You can pull your top ten from the rest of the the country.”
Barring an actual country wide competition, we cannot say whether they got it right or not, but the study doesn’t paint The City That Never Sleeps as the funniest place. Or should we say the City That Never, um, laughs?
Alright, we aren’t helping.