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Your Funny Friends Are Just Psychopaths, Says Science


sarah silverman

It turns out comedians or very funny people are basically just Psychotic-Lite. According to an Oxford University study, “They score highly on characteristics that in extreme cases are associated with mental illness.” This is surprising to no one who knows comedians. Apparently the “creative elements” needed to be funny are similar to characteristics found in psychosis.

If your jokes don’t always land it means you are normal, I guess, which is also kind of a psychotic thing to be. The¬†University of Oxford and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust studied “523 comedians (404 men and 119 women) from the UK, US and Australia.”

Researchers found that comedians scored higher in the four types of psychotic personalities including “unusual experiences (belief in telepathy and paranormal events), cognitive disorganization (distractibility and difficulty in focusing thoughts), introvertive anhedonia (reduced ability to feel social and physical pleasure, including an avoidance of intimacy), impulsive non-conformity (tendency towards impulsive, antisocial behavior).”

The researchers believe that this bizarre set of personality traits may be what makes comedians able to entertain because it allows them to make odd associations or think outside of the box.¬†Professor Gordon Claridge told BBC News, “Comedians tend to be slightly withdrawn, introverted people who may not always want to socialize, and their comedy is almost an outlet for that. It’s a kind of self-medication.”

These characteristics, making strange connections, thinking outside of the box and finding unusual observations, can be found in those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, it should be noted that when these traits were discovered in comedians they were far less severe than in those with real mental illnesses and were thus able to serve as a tool not a handicap.

So are your funniest friends the most psychotic?

[BBC News]

Emerald is an editor at CollegeCandy, lover of coffee, and pretend francophile. After studying writing and popular culture at NYU she decided to be a grownup and get a job. Tweet at ya' girl @EmeraldGritty.