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The laughing ape and other insights into the nature of funny.

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Testing Comedians

I have to ask, when this study was done, were the comedians aware that they were being tested as comedians? Although I am not a comedian myself, I am close to the comedy community, and am aware of how they think. About 2 years ago there was a study done on comedians testing whether or not they were psychopaths. Several quite famous professional comedians stated that they would never participate in such a study, and that if they did, they would, and I quote, "fuck with the testers."

It would be at the very core of a comedian's being to give wrong answers to result in the most outrageous outcome. I agree that comedians tend to be lonely, somewhat broken people, but by their nature, you can't run an honest test on a comedian unless you do not reveal to them that you are testing comedians...and even then, they are comedians at the core, and you can not trust their answers on a test like this.

Hi FlippyBits

Note that the study is not about psychopathy but psychosis, a big difference. I am not sure when the data was collected but it was probably done in the last few years as the paper was just published. The comedians were aware that it is related to comedy as they were asked about their experiences as comedians but did not know the exact purpose of the study or what the scales entail.


If the comedians were aware the study was related to comedy, I would not trust a single answer they gave. No matter what the subject matter of the study, (dare I say) most comedians would give answers to result in a conclusion that they could later laugh at. It's the nature of the beast.

My studies show otherwise

There is no reason to believe that comedians will lie in their answers. In fact, all comedians I met in person where very curious about the study and were sincere. In fact, their are certain statistics that you can check if they lie and I found no evidence for that.

Addressing the honesty aspect

of this 'study' I think,is very important,and thank you for bringing it up.

But how can you trust someone who is deceitful and/or those who actively or passively participate in deceptive practices?

I say,a healthy person would not trust such an individual, unless they just didn't know any better.

What can be reasonably said about a person that employs deception in order to gain?

That person could be reasonably said to be engaging in a con;a connivance:to make something-in this case a study-appear to be what it is not.

Deception:again I does one trust someone who has demonstrated a capacity for willful and premeditated dishonesty?

Aren't the inner workings of 'evil' always characterized as being at their very core and nature,'deceptive'?

Thanks for your comments.

I am not sure how it is relevant for this study

Comedians are not more deceiving than other people and I don't see the art of comedy as deception. Usually, people lie on sensitive issues such as sex or income but the questions themselves are quite innocuous in my view.

So the dishonesty of a reseacher

isn't 'relevant'?


Please specify when I said something close to what

you are attributing to me. If you want to respond the post don't be dishonest yourself.

You said

that the comedians in the study 'didn't know the exact purpose of the study,'in your words.

They weren't told the true nature of the study.Isn't that behavior dishonest?


To avoid biases in response the comedians are not notified in advance the exact purpose of the study. They can be told that it is about their personality. After they complete the study they are briefed about everything. Otherwise, no study can be conducted.

"Subject: My studies show

"Subject: My studies show otherwise
There is no reason to believe that comedians will lie in their answers. In
fact, all comedians I met in person where very curious about the study and
were sincere. In fact, their are certain statistics that you can check if
they lie and I found no evidence for that."

You can skip ahead to 57 seconds in, if you want to save time.


You keep confusing psychopathology and psychosis and your claims make no sense and are not supported by scientific evidence. The fact that you refer to someone who has no understanding of the science behind the study and haven't even read the paper, weaken your point. As I said before, the comedians had no idea what the purpose of the study was, so there is little chance they could mess it up.

Laughing On The Outside, Crying On The Inside?

I've heard that comideans actually come from very
sad backrounds, and that's why they crack jokes.
Chevy Chase is a good example.

I addressed this issue in an earlier post

Called: Why Do Comedians Become Comedians? You can read it here:

Psychology is a 'creative' field certainly why not include psychologists, among those surveyed for 'psychotic' traits?

Doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

In fact, I would even go as far as saying that psychologists are among the most creative people around.

Just think about one of the founders of this filed,Carl Gustav Jung:

A brief survey of his work...ideas...and complexity and variety throughout his career, can only lead one to conclude that Jung was one highly creative individual.

Has anyone ever heard Jung described as a 'psychotic' or as possessing 'psychotic traits'?


I am not sure about psychologists or Jung in particular

but I can tell you that many creative groups were studied with similar results. They don't call it the mad scientist for nothing, right? You also have to remember that the research on this topic develop well after Jung's death.

Your answer is duly noted

and on the record.

But I think you could have plainly answered in the affirmative that in fact,'yes...psychologists by the very requirements of the practice in this field...need to be highly creative in order to be successful.'

I'll refer you to a current article here on PT called 'Do chimps like music'?

Who cares...and what rational person would ask such a question to begin with?

I say one highly creative person,or one with a doctoral degree at least.

That said,part and parcel of any new endeavor-such as the entire field of psychology/psychiatry-is the necessary and vital creative aspect, that curiously has gone unaddressed traditionally when practitioners discuss it.

Can't go 'round telling your clientele what you're really up to now,can you?

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Gil Greengross, Ph.D., is a psychologist and anthropologist at the University of Mexico.


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