18-25 Segment 2: How Comedy Became King

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We love to laugh. Our lives are filled with humor in various forms, from comedy shows to joke books. Ken Jennings, former Jeopardy champion and author of Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture, calls Twitter “one big joke contest.” Jennings explains more about the abundance of comedy in our culture and whether it’s a good thing.

Comedy was not always king. In fact, people used to value strength, hard work, and skills over humor. But as the world has become more automated, humor is one of the few human skills that can’t be replicated by a robot and, thus, is considered of prime importance. Often, it tops the list in what people are looking for in a partner.

Jennings points out two milestones in comedy’s takeover of our society, in advertising and in politics. Once this trend was started, everybody else had to keep up. This is why, now, we get our news from comedy shows and watch the Super Bowl for advertisements.

Humor, no doubt, makes people happy and has many positives. The increase of humor for activism purposes is one example of it being used for good. But, Jennings’ book has a punchline: “if everything is funnier, why aren’t we happier?” It may be that jokes are too plentiful, or it may be that they have infiltrated in areas where they aren’t appropriate. Comedy can often be used for ignoble purposes, to sell or cover up scandals for example. So, Jennings encourages us all to reevaluate our attitudes toward humor and make sure it plays an appropriate role in our culture.

To get your own copy of Jennings’ book, see the links below.

Guest:

  • Ken Jennings, former Jeopardy champion and author of Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture

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18-06 Segment 1: Making Philosophy Relatable Through Humor

 

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Philosophy is not often considered a light conversational topic, and it even more rarely is associated with being humorous. However, Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, authors of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, would disagree.

“It’s not that philosophy’s so funny, it’s that the jokes explain philosophical ideas, and somehow make it funny,” said Klein. Cathcart and Klein use the storylines of jokes that do not initially appear to have any relation to philosophy, and then find a way to apply a philosophical belief to it allowing for the meaning to become more clear. According to Cathcart the study of philosophy arms people with the skills needed to think, argue, and make a point more clearly.

Listen to Klein and Cathcart explain some philosophical thought by using jokes, and hear their opinion on whether they think the deepest thinkers of the past would have benefitted from using jokes to explain their ideas.

Guest:

  • Thomas Cathcart, co-author of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes
  • Daniel Klein, co-author of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes

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Coming Up On Viewpoints Show 18-06

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Making Philosophy Relatable Through Humor

Often, philosophy is so dense and hard to fully process that it feels impossible to understand and enjoy. Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein are trying to fix that problem. They explains some of the deepest thinkers of all time, like Immanuel Kant or John Locke, with humor.

Norwich, Vermont’s Olympic Formula

How has a small town in Vermont produced 11 Olympians since the ‘80s? New York Times sportswriter Karen Crouse went there to find out, and says the answer lies in the town’s culture and most crucially, the parenting.

Culture Crash: YouTube’s Logan Paul Problem

YouTube stars rack up huge followings and a lot of cash. But YouTube’s hottest star is in a lot of hot water over one of his videos. How should the internet regulate itself?

17-08 Segment 1: The Funny Side of Philosophy

Plato the philosopher with a funny hat and Athena, godess of wisdom and philosophy

 

Often, philosophy is so dense and hard to fully process that it feels impossible to understand and enjoy. Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein are trying to fix that problem. Their book, Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar explains some of the deepest thinkers of all time, like Immanuel Kant or John Locke, with humor. Both authors join the show to tell stories, crack jokes, and clarify some of the big ideas of philosophy.

Stay in the loop! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Subscribe and review on iTunes!

 

Click here for guest information and the transcript

15-04 Segment 1: Humor and Serious Topics

 

Synopsis: Sometimes talking about serious subjects, even with friends and family, can cause arguments and bad feelings. But just as Mary Poppins said, “…a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down,” humor can make the discussion of serious subjects go down easier. Our guests are two very talented and funny people who use humor, satire and irony to make their points about women in science, and the immigrants’ experience.

Host: Gary Price. Guests: Aasif Mandvi, actor, award-winning playwright, cast member on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and author of the book, No Land’s Man. Megan Amram, comedian, writer on NBC’s comedy Parks and Recreation, and author of Science…for Her!

Links for more information:

Click here for the transcript.