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The Results Are In: Leno's Biggest Joke Targets Were Bill Clinton and O.J. Simpson

Leno only has two more Tonight Show episodes left to host, so George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs took it upon themselves to analyze all 43,892 monologue jokes Leno's told on the show between its premiere on May 25, 1992 and the January 24, 2014 episode. What they found: President Bill Clinton was Leno's most frequent monologue target with 4,607 punchlines at his expense, while other top butts-of-the-jokes included George W. Bush (3,239), Al Gore (1,026), and Barack Obama (1,011). They also found that Leno poked fun at Democrats 15% more often than Republicans, and while celebrities were brought up less often than political [...]

Using Math and Nerdery to Look a Bit Too Closely at Comedy Communities

Are you ready to overthink comedy? Erik Voss used mathematical equations and Venn diagrams to examine the types of people who do comedy and how their personality traits change the comedy scene. To wit: The basic translation here is that in a comedy organization, “cool-smart-funny” people attract “smart-funny” people, “smart-funny” people attract “smart” people, and “smart” people attract other “smart” people.

Imagine, for example, any comedic institution you’ve ever seen. SNL. The Second City. The Simpsons writers room. Your college improv team. The Roman Catholic Church. All of them began the same way, with the same type of people.

Above, a crazy Venn diagram that should give [...]