By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – What is the funniest city in America?

This isn’t a question we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, but that’s what we have academia for, I suppose, and the distinguished researchers at the University of Colorado’s Humor Research Lab have been on it full-time.

And the list they’ve come up with is no joke.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

The top ten include Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and, of course, Boston, all cosmopolitian cities with distinct ethnic populations and rough edges, which seems to me crucial factors in a developed sense of humor.

Growing up around here, you learn quickly that you’d better be able to take a humorous insult and give one, a reality that gives rise to the art of the “rank,” as in your buddies rank out you, you rank out them, and everybody goes home happy.

Also interesting, the Humor Research Lab’s ranking – pardon the expression – of the ten least funny cities, almost all of which are located in the South or Sun Belt, with four in Texas alone.

Apparently, the notorious congeniality of the warm-weather states breeds humorlessness, which, to a Bostonian who expresses affection primarily through good-humored rank-outs, makes southern hospitality suspect.

Humor is in the eye of the beholder of course, as I discover every time I wax sarcastic here and get a handful of angry e-mail from folks who didn’t get the joke. Your idea of a funny movie may be some witty Woody Allen film; mine is “Blazing Saddles,” or “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

Which leaves me wondering about the Humor Research Lab’s description of Boston humor as a split personality between dry high-brow and rowdy low-brow.

Where do they find this “dry high-brow” humor around here?

At an auction?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.



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