On Humor

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny…’ — Isaac Asimov

The best humor goes beyond amusement. It can help people see the world from a new point of view and help people change the way they think. The humorist is a gadfly in the best sense of the word, one who annoys the powerful but provokes positive action. Even when kings wielded absolute power, they had the licensed fool or court jester to provide them with the truth in a humorous way. Considering how important humor is, it’s interesting that Donald Trump does not laugh. Below I have some humorous things that make you think and some things that are just funny.

Covid-19 Humor

Annual Updates

2024 Updates

  • Alex Edelman‘s show Just for Us is out on Max. Abigail and I saw this show twice, first off-Broadway and then on Broadway. Mike Birbiglia presented him (fancy name for put his name on it). If you liked it, check out Alex’s BBC radio shows Millenial (Best Newcomer at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and Peer Group.

2022 Updates

  • Each year comedy enters the national/international stage in a different way. In 2022, it’s all about comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, the unlikely President of Ukraine, who’s previous job was as a television star who played a schoolteacher who became the unlikely President of Ukraine. I’m starting to watch his show Servant of the People (subtitled in English, here’s a clip dubbed in English). In this profile in the New Yorker Zelensky says, ” ‘I started out making fun of politicians, parodying them, and, in doing so, showing what kind of Ukraine I would like to see.” Zelensky gives me the hope that politics doesn’t have to be about bad acting. He says, “Politics is like bad cinema—people overact, take it too far. When I speak with politicians, I see this in their facial expressions, their eyes, the way they squint… I look at things like a producer. I would often watch a scene on the monitor, and the director and I would yell, ‘Stop, no more, this is unwatchable! No one will believe this.” Instead, he says, “What the viewer loves in an actor, this feeling of humanity—of course I use it,” he said. “And that’s very easy to do, because I remain myself.” This guy actually plays the role of a hero president, inspiring his people and not running out of his country to hide. This is our hero comedian. Plus, he’s Jewish. For a more serious take on Zelensky, check out: An Unlikely Hero (Nytimes), Volodymyr Zelenskyy, explained in 8 moments (especially his speech to the European Parliment where the translater is holding back tears).
  • On a much simpler and coarse note, my kids are very excited about rude tongue twisters.
  • In the car, we’ve been listening to Cabin Pressure, a radio show starring Benedict Cumberbatch before he was famous. It was written by John Finnemore who has a fantastic and smart variety show called John Finnemore’s Souvenir Program. There are some amazing bits like The Interdivention of Winnie the Pooh and The Three Little Pigs. You can also download Cabin Pressure and Souvenir Program at archive.org for free.
  • Holidays Talk if Jews Were the Religious Majority

2021 Updates

2020 Updates

2019 Updates

  • Instead of naming their WiFi network something boring like “Schlaff WiFi,” some people have very funny names for their WiFi like “Girls Gone Wireless,” “Mom, Click Here for Internet,” “Definitely Not An FBI Surveillance Van,” “WeCanHearYouHavingSex,” or “C:Virus.exe.”
  • Aziz Ansari had a great Netflix special that’s not only funny and thoughtful but tackles his #MeToo debacle head on.
  • Chess Boxing is a sport that involves alternating rounds of boxing and chess.
  • Some funny videos make great points about work. For anyone who wants to show adding people to a project isn’t better, look at this video of 3 professional soccer players against 100 kids. And for anyone who tells you that kids are just better with technology, look at this video of kids trying to dial a rotary phone.
  • Aziz Ansari had a great Netflix special that’s not only funny and thoughtful but tackles his #MeToo debacle head on.

2018 Updates

2017 Updates

2016 Updates

Funny Tech Videos

Funny Work Videos