04/22/2014 02:28 pm ET | Updated Apr 30, 2014

Here's A Scientific Analysis Of The Funniest Cities In America

If you're looking for a laugh, head to the Windy City.

Chicago topped the list of the nation's funniest cities in a new study released Sunday by the University of Colorado-Boulder. (See the full list below.)

In a release, CU-Boulder called the study "the most comprehensive analysis of humorous cities," with a team of academics using an algorithm created in the school's Humor Research Lab -- also known as HuRL.

“We found humor often has a local flavor,” Peter McGraw, associate professor of marketing and psychology at CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business said in a statement. “The jokes that get laughs at comedy clubs in Denver seem unlikely to fly with a cartoon editor at The New Yorker, for example. The kind of torturous game shows that some Japanese find amusing would likely fall flat to a sitcom producer in Los Angeles.”

Researchers took the following factors into account to determine which city was the funniest of them all:

  • Number of comedy clubs per square mile in each city
  • Traveling comedians' ratings of each city's comedy-club audiences
  • Number of famous comedians born in each city, divided by city population
  • Number of famous funny tweeters living in each city, divided by city population
  • Number of comedy radio stations available in each city
  • Frequency of humor-related web searches originating in each city

“A city’s humor score isn’t just a measure of historic reputation or big-name productions,” said Adrian Ward, senior research associate at the Leeds School. “It’s a way of looking at the day-to-day lives of people in that city. A city’s sense of humor is a living, breathing thing, created by everything from coffee shop conversations to Web videos shared between friends to the laughter that erupts at comedy clubs.”

  • 1 Chicago
    Second City Facebook
    The Second City is Chicago's most famous comedy club -- and the place where scores of future "Saturday Night Live" talents like Tina Fey, Chris Farley and Bill Murray got their start.
  • 2 Boston
    The Comedy Studio Facebook
    The Comedy Studio in Harvard Square boasts that it's "one of the nation's top laugh labs."
  • 3 Atlanta
    Punchline Comedy Club
    The Punchline Comedy Club is Atlanta's oldest comedy club and hosts shows at least five nights a week.
  • 4 Washington, D.C.
    DC Improv Facebook
    The DC Improv is considered the "mothership" of comedy venues in the nation's capital.
  • 5 Portland, Ore.
    Helium Comedy Club Facebook
    Helium Comedy Club is Portland's go-to stop for appearances by SNL alumni and cable comedy heavyweights.
  • 6 New York City
    The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Manhattan is where comedy stars like Aziz Ansari, Horatio Sanz, Aubrey Plaza and Amy Poehler honed their chops before they hit it big.
  • 7 Los Angeles
    Comedy superstars like Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell and the late Phil Hartman passed through the 40-year-old Groundlings Theater in Hollywood on their way to comedy superstardom.
  • 8 Denver
    Comedy Works
    Comedy Works in Denver is the go-to venue for stand-up, attracting the nation's comedy giants (think former stand-ups who achieved mononym stardom on TV, à la Leno and Ellen).
  • 9 San Francisco
    Cobb's Comedy Club Facebook
    Along with the West Coast location of Punchline, Cobb's Comedy Club is one of San Francisco's top funny destinations.
  • 10 Seattle
    Comedy legends like Sam Kinnison, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K. and Tommy Chong have each graced the stage at the Comedy Underground in downtown Seattle.


Faces Of Chicago's Second City Comedy Club