4 Reasons Why Funny People Are Probably Smarter Than Average

4 Reasons Why Funny People Are Probably Smarter Than Average

By Leo Vine | Contributor on July 26, 2019
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funny people
Josh Denny is the host of Ginormous Food | Ben Leuner/Television Food Network

Multiple studies have found that people who are funny also tend to be more intelligent. If you’re one of them, odds are you’d like to go back in time and tell that teacher who kept telling you that you’d never amount to anything as the “class clown” that science contradicts that judgement. 

Even if you don’t have much of a sense of humor, it’s hard to deny that the funniest people tend to be rather ingenious simply based on their ability to make us laugh, but there are some solid facts behind this reality.

They Have Higher IQs

Austrian researchers discovered just a few years ago that funny people tend to have higher IQs, with higher non-verbal and verbal intelligence while scoring lower in aggressiveness and mood disturbance. But that wasn’t the only study to come up with similar findings, many others have found that comedians typically score much higher on IQ tests as compared to the average person. Perhaps that’s why you might have noticed that stand-up comedian and host of “Ginormous Food” Josh Denny seems to be especially clever with his comedic observations.

Host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah
Host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah

Higher Verbal Intelligence and Abstract Reasoning Ability

Yet another study conducted in 2011 found that psychology students at the University of New Mexico who scored high on verbal intelligence and abstract reasoning ability produced the funniest captions for a series of New Yorker cartoons as compared to those who didn’t score as well. The same results were achieved the university conducted another study using a group of comedians. Those who scored higher on verbal intelligence tests produced the funniest, and the most, caption ideas.

Funny People are More Creative

Funny people tend to be more creative and creativity is also related to intelligence. Think about some of the top comedians who also hosts shows on TV currently, like Ellen DeGeneres and Trevor Noah. They’re especially gifted when it comes to satire, which requires intelligence to pull off, and to pull off well, getting audiences to laugh. It demands ingenuity, open-mindedness and smarts to come up with all the underlying elements.

This is something that researchers haven’t failed to notice either. In the 1970s when studying three different factors in elementary school children: humor, intelligence and creativity, Bucknell University’s John W. Thomas and William E. Hauck discovered that a sense of humor was linked to both intelligence and creativity.

American Comedian, Radio Host, Actor, Activist, and Author D. L. Hughley
American Comedian, Radio Host, Actor, Activist, and Author D. L. Hughley | Wenn

Successful Comedians Demonstrate Many Different Types of Intelligence

Funny people tend to be intelligent in many different ways, especially those who are successful comedians. They have the smarts that provide many different advantages that are essential to success, such as social and emotional intelligence. They have to be sensitive to how their act is being perceived, and know how to engage, fine-tuning their act to a particular audience on stage. Off stage they need to know how to deal with club managers, booking agents, fellow comedians and more – if they don’t behave well, they’re unlikely to be invited to return.

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