Huffpost Comedy

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

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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
    WikiMedia:
    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
    WikiMedia:
    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.


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