'Humour Algorithm' Determines America's Funniest Cities

Which cities get the most yuks per square mile?

Dr. Peter McGraw and journalist Joel Warner teamed up with the Humour Research Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder to find out.

Together, they came up with a “humour algorithm” and collected data from America’s 50 largest cities about their quality and quantity of “funniness,” according to The New York Times.

The researchers factored in statistics like the quality of travelling comedians, number of comedy clubs, visits to funny websites, and number of funny Twitter users.

They also surveyed more than 900 residents and quizzed them on their favourite jokes, movies, and TV shows, how often they saw live comedy shows, their preference for funny friends and lovers, and if they got their news from Comedy Central. They were also asked to describe their city’s sense of humour and tell their favourite joke.

McGraw and Warner just released the book “The Humour Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny.”

Here are the 10 funniest big cities in the U.S., according to the researchers.

1. Chicago, IL “The Home of Improv”

Chicago’s The Second City is the most popular improv school and theatre in the world. Comedic legends like Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Joan Rivers, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, and Stephen Colbert all got their starts there.

2. Boston, MA “Balancing Brains & Booze”

Bostonians were most likely to attend live comedy shows, and they have plenty of venues to choose from, including Improv Asylum, ImprovBoston, and Nick’s Comedy Stop. It’s no wonder stand-up greats like Jay Leno, Louis C.K., and Conan O’Brien all hail from the Boston area.

3. Atlanta, GA “Where (Racial) Worlds Collide”

This southern city has the top preference for funny movies. Tyler Perry Studios and comedies like “Smokey and the Bandit” and the recent “Ride Along” are all based in Atlanta.

4. Washington, D.C. “Politicians & Cynics”

The nation’s capital has the top preference for funny television shows. While there are a lot of dramatic shows set at the White House (“House of Cards,” anyone?), there’s also the popular “Veep” to lighten politics up.

5. Portland, OR “Quirky, Absurd, & Just Plain Weird”

There’s a whole TV show dedicated to the weirdness in the City of Roses. SNL alum Fred Armisen stars in the sketch comedy show, “Portlandia,” based in the funky northwestern city.

6. New York, NY “High Speed & High Stress”

New York is the perfect setting for comedy, especially when it comes to TV. “Seinfeld,” “Louie,” “Sex and the City,” and Funny or Die’s “Billy on the Street” all take advantage of the restless city.

7. Los Angeles, CA “Show-Biz Satire”

L.A. is home to The Groundlings, a comedy sketch school that names famous funny people like Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Will Ferrell as alumni.

8. Denver, CO “Laid-back and High … on Life?”

Their renowned Comedy Works has featured high-profile comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres.

9. San Fransisco, CA “Liberal Zany Meets Smart Techy”

More of a “prankster” city, San Francisco hosts the St. Stupid’s Day Parade by the First Church of the Last Laugh every year on April Fool’s Day.

10. Seattle, WA “Young Intellectuals”

Seattle is where romantic comedies seem to flourish. “Say Anything…,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Singles,” and of course “Sleepless in Seattle” are all set in the Emerald City. Bonus if you consider “Twilight” a comedy.

Here are some more of the researchers’ findings:

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