The University of Colorado Boulder’s Humor Research Lab (yes, that’s an actual thing) has created a Humor Algorithm to determine which cities in America are most likely to leave you giggling — and what type of humor makes residents of that city laugh the most. Every major city has a personality of its own, so it would only make sense that this would bleed into the city’s taste for comedy.
Scientist Peter McGraw, the Humor Lab’s director, teamed up with journalist Joel Warner to collect nine months’ worth of data on individual cities’ Internet usage and comedy industries. The team measured patterns like the number of visits to Cheezburger websites, comedy clubs per square mile, touring comedians’ ratings of comedy club audiences, the percentage funny tweeters and famous comedians born in each city, and the number of humor-related web searches in the city. Once they had a top 10, the team surveyed over 900 residents to understand the types of humor they relate to and each city’s local flavor of laughs.
Check out the top-ranking cities after the jump!
1. Chicago came out on top, with a focus on improvisational comedy and contextual comments rather than basic jokes. That’s no surprise, based on the city’s bustling improv scene that’s churned out some of our favorite “Saturday Night Live” legends.
2. Boston features dry, sarcastic, booze-fueled humor alongside a steady stream of blue-collar jokes.
3. Atlanta‘s humor is often based on race relations or stereotypes, but not without a few “redneck”-style jokes a la Jeff Foxworthy.
4. Washington, D.C. lives for political jokes, not surprisingly. According to one survey participant, the humor is shaped by smart, miserable people — and let’s be real, that’s the perfect breeding ground for comedy.
5. Portland‘s breed of humor is just plain odd. Portlandian humor seems to live within an inside joke that outsiders don’t always quite understand. It’s all about the quirkiness.
6. New York favors fast-paced, stressed-out humor — no surprises there. The humor veers toward the dark and serves as a form of stress release.
7. Los Angeles prefers cynical cracks at show biz and pop culture.
8. Denver makes a whole lot of pot jokes. Denver comedy tends to be relaxed and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
9. San Francisco features humor that fluctuates between intellectual, tech-fueled jokes and commentary on the city’s liberal leanings and quirky characters.
10. Seattle humor is intellectual and self-serving, with a focus on the city’s start-up culture and endless supply of coffee.