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The Comedy of Error Reviews

The Comedy of Error: why evolution made us laugh

Jonathan Silvertown

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Scribe Publications
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Publication date: 12 Nov 2020
ISBN: 9781913348182

What is humour? Why do we laugh? And why is the root of a good joke almost always error? Good jokes, bad jokes, clever jokes, dad jokes - the desire to laugh is universal.

3 stars out of 5
James McConnachie
8 Nov 2020

"This scientific analysis of humour says it may have evolved to boost sex appeal"

The true test of the book, though, is whether or not it delivers on its more serious purpose. It does partly explain the origin of humour, but it also falls into the trap that evolutionary psychology so often sets for itself — that of seeking an all-encompassing explanation. Humour could be the resolution of non-threatening incongruity, and it probably is an advertisement of intelligence, but it is many other things besides. It undoubtedly is partly genetic, but it is also deeply cultural. And it is in culture that its real interest and complexity — and possibly its explanation — will surely be found.