Behind the Scenes in the Humor Studio

Being funny is a very exact science. It involves lots of equations and postulations and other science-y words I definitely didn’t just learn by Googling “science-y words” prior to typing this sentence. Ask any comedian about their scientifically-based, joke-making process, and he or she will probably say, “What are you talking about? How did you get this number?”

This is where writers turn in new jokes. All very scientific. That unicorn? Also for science.

Making funny greeting cards is no different. Writers turn in dozens of jokes they arrive at after simple calculations (i.e. cats + silly hats = $$$).

Because writing jokes is so scientific and humor is not at all subjective, writers never have to worry about things like “not appealing everyone’s taste” or “creative exhaustion.” Ask any Shoebox writer how easy it is to write jokes, and he or she will probably say, “What are you talking about? Did Mia give you this number? Tell her to stop pretending she knows science.”

From the jokes the writers submit, editors then decide which jokes will ultimately be turned into a card based on a variety of factors like, “Would someone actually send a card that said this to another person?” and “Do people still think jokes about babies are adorable and hilarious?” (Recent studies say, “Yes, very.”)

Here are some actual things we’ve said while discussing potential new cards:

“The rodent in this photo doesn’t look confused enough.”

“Is bean dip trendy?”

“I’m just so-so on duck farts as a concept.”

“Maybe we could make the cartoon beer look more friendly?”

“Could you ask the writer for a few more pieces about bedazzled underwear, but with more sophisticated language?”

Wow. The science in our process is overwhelming.

Only about 10 percent of what writers turn in actually makes it on a card. (Look! More numbers and science!) The other 90 percent becomes what we’ve lovingly dubbed Card Rejects or “Funny…But No.” You can read some of our favorites here on the Shoebox blog.

what’s your super scientific humor formula?



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