As any comedian will tell you, bad humor can be a dangerous thing. Comedians who flop have been known to be attacked on stage, or at the least, publicly ridiculed. While science has explored the underpinnings of successful humor, researchers have stayed away from bad humor (at least in their academic pursuits)—until now.
Nancy Bell of Washington State University recruited a team of brave volunteers to accost friends, family members, and complete strangers with a truly terrible joke:
“What did the big chimney say to the little chimney?
“Nothing, chimneys can’t talk.”