Why men are funnier than women

... according to one scientist

Scientists have waded into an age-old debate and concluded that men are funnier than women.

Men naturally make more jokes, which tend to be in the form of aggressive banter, according to Professor Sam Shuster.

As part of his research, the professor rode a unicycle around Newcastle upon Tyne and judged the reaction of 400 onlookers.

He said men were much more likely to yell out at him, and when they did 75 per cent of them made snide jokey comments such as ‘Lost your wheel?’ whereas women tended to make encouraging remarks.

Shuster, of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, also found that the older the men were, the softer their comments work.

His findings, reported in the British Medical Journal, support the theory that men are more likely to use humour aggressively by making others the butt of the joke.

He said: ‘At 11-13 years, the boys began to get really aggressive. Into puberty, the aggression became more marked, then it changed into a form of joke. The men were snide.’

Shuster describes as adult as ‘repetitive, humorous, verbal put-downs, concealing a latent aggression.’

Psychologists say the aggression stems from men seeing the unicyclist as a threat, attracting female attention away from themselves.

Shuster wrote: ‘The initial aggressive intent channelled the verbal response into a contrived but more subtle and sophisticated joke, in which aggression is concealed by wit. This shows how the aggression that leads to humour eventually becomes separated from it as wit, jokes and other comic forms which then take on a life of their own.’

Two years ago, researchers claimed there women place a greater emphasis on the language of jokes, whereas men were drawn just to the punchline.

Published: 22 Dec 2007

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