by Toby Sells
Memphis is funnier than Miami. Memphis is less funny than Philadelphia. But Memphis is definitely the funniest city in Tennessee.
The results come from a new study that looks at surveys, tweets, the concentration of comedy clubs, and more to find the funniest cities in America. Journalist Joel Warner teamed up with Peter McGraw, a scientist at University of Colorado Boulder [UCB], for the study, which is part of a new book called “The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny.”
McGraw runs UCB’s Humor Research Lab (or HuRL), which developed the Humor Algorithm (or HA) to rank the funniest cities in the country. The algorithm considers:
• Number of visits to comedy websites
• Number of comedy clubs per square mile in each city
• Number of famous comedians born in each city
• Number of comedy radio stations in each city
• Number of famous funny tweeters in each city
• Ratings by traveling comedians of audiences in each city
• Number of humor-related web searches in each city
Memphis ranked 26th overall, right in between Indianapolis at 25th and Baltimore at 27th. Nashville and Davidson County ranked 35th in between Dallas and Albuquerque.
The funniest city in America is Chicago, according to the study. The city is home to the world famous Second City comedy theatre, which has been the training ground for top comics from John Belushi and Bill Murray to Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.
Atlanta ranked 3rd on the list and was the only Southern city to rank in the top 10. The study said the city leans heavily on racially-charged humor. But the region’s diversity also makes plenty of room for the redneck jokes of Jeff Foxworthy to the “gritty, urban humor” of Katt Williams, the study says.