For your amusement


QandA_QDrop.jpg How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?


Whether this punch line makes you laugh, says Ted Cohen, Chicago philosophy professor and moderator of the annual Latke-Hamantash Debate, depends on understanding the context (i.e., surrealists’ love of combining discordant concepts) and having some familiarity with the lightbulb-changing joke form. In his new book, Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters, available for free download from the University of Chicago Press through March, Cohen delves into why some jokes work and others don’t. Perhaps most fun are the dozens of examples he uses as teaching tools. “There is no formula for making up jokes, and not everyone can do it,” he says. “A joke cannot force everyone to be amused, and some people are unamused by some jokes.”

To see what tickles your funny bone, download a copy today.

Brooke E. O’Neill, AM’04

March 1, 2010