The Psychology of Comedy  book cover
1st Edition

The Psychology of Comedy

ISBN 9780367366094
Published August 18, 2021 by Routledge
194 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

What makes us laugh? Why is comedy so important? How does comedy affect our behaviour?

The Psychology of Comedy provides a unique insight into the role of laughter and humour in our lives. From the mechanics of comedy and what makes a good joke, to the health benefits of laughter, the book delves into different types of comedy, from slapstick to complex puns, and the physiological response it provokes. The dark side of comedy is also considered, confronting the idea that what is funny to some can be offensive to others, making this universal experience also highly subjective. 

In a time when comedy continues to be one of the most popular and enduring forms of art, The Psychology of Comedy reminds us that laughter really is good for the soul.

Table of Contents


An Introduction to the Psychology of Comedy


Theories of comedy and laughter


Individual differences in humour-sex, personality, culture and intelligence


Comedians and their personalities


The uses of comedy i: health and therapy


The uses of comedy ii: learning, marketing and advertising


Funny bones? The physiology and neurology of comedy

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G Neil Martin is Honorary Professor of Psychology at Regent's University of London, a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, former books editor of Deadpan magazine and editorial board member of the Annals of Improbable Research.


"Analysing comedy is like herding bubbles but this book is both a detailed study of the art of making people laugh and an entertainment in itself, and Neil Martin is an excellent bubble herder." - David Quantick, Emmy-winning writer of Veep; TV Burp, Brass Eye, The Thick Of It, On The Hour

"Brilliant. The perfect guide to what’s going on in our heads while our faces are busy laughing"- Joel Morris, writer, the Ladybird book parodies, Viz, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, Paddington, Philomena Cunk

"A fun and informative romp that will put a smile on your face"- Professor Richard Wiseman, Professor of Psychology and creator of The Laugh Lab

"I have often found that the secret to comedy lies in the unexpected. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy a psychology book but I really enjoyed this one."- Phil Hughes, writer, Thunderpants, I Love Candy

"Many people don't realize how important comedy is across so many facets of our life. This is an entertaining and thorough compilation of everything and did and didn't want to know about comedy." - Kasha Patel, stand-up comedian and science writer for NASA.