Scott Adams Explains Humor

Its been linked around quite a bit, but if you haven't seen it, Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert", has a blog.  Most of the posts are humorous, but in this post he provides a framework for thinking about humor:

The core of humor is what I call the 2-of-6 rule. In order for something to be
funny, you need at least two of the following elements:

(as in kids and animals)




(You've been there)



invented this rule, but you can check for yourself that whenever something is
funny it follows the rule. And when something isn't, it doesn't. One
of the reasons comics are such a popular form of humor is that they often get
the cute part automatically. Calvin and Hobbes is widely considered the best comic ever, but the few times it featured the parents doing the main action, it
fell flat. Whenever it combined Calvin and Hobbes (both exceedingly cute), with
some witty dialog (clever), a dangerous wagon ride (cruel), Calvin acting like a
typical kid (recognizable), and thinking about adult philosophy (bizarre) it
fired on 5-of-6 humor elements, which is virtually unheard of.

I spent WAY too much time in business school and as a consultant deconstructing businesses and industries into processes and frameworks.  It is interesting to see something we geeks think of as unstructured and creative (e.g. humor) deconstructed scientifically as well.