When it comes to being funny, you’ve either got it or you don’t – and at this point in time, you’ve already come to terms with the fact that you’ve probably got it.
No matter how many people might think your sense of humor is corny or perhaps in poor taste (at times), the way you see things, you’re funny as f*ck and do your best to shine whenever the right social situations arise.
I mean, by now, you’ve mastered “the art,” as you call it. Your repertoire of witty one-liners feels endless, sarcasm-game is on point and timing is almost always impeccable – as if all your jokes arrive five to 10 minutes before their dinner reservations.
The elements that make you funny, those you’re well aware of. But the how you got this way? That’s a different story entirely.
From a young age, you had ruled out any possibility of the trait being passed down genetically, or at least from your parents directly. Nevertheless, it appears science may provide evidence for the contrary.
According to David Grimm of Science Mag, researchers have, in fact, located a “funny gene.”
According to Grimm, while the idea that humans are unique in their ability to distinguish between “what’s funny” and “what isn’t” is a controversial one among the science community, the concept of some humans being funnier than others is pretty widely accepted.
Think about it. There’s a reason Jerry Seinfeld is worth over half a billion dollars, and the “funny guy” at the office doesn’t get paid extra for his standup bit by the water cooler each morning.
Naturally, some are better suited to make people laugh than others, but what exactly is the driving force behind why?
Apparently, a gene dubbed “HAHA-1,” which, yeah, might be the funniest thing I’ve ever heard of in my entire life, is, alas, the “funny gene.”
The elusive HAHA-1: Kudos to whoever discovered and more importantly, named this gene. Although, I will say, something like “LMFAO-2b” would’ve probably served equally as well, from an identification standpoint.
Nevertheless, the way researchers identified the HAHA-1 gene itself is quite funny (which I suppose is only fitting).
And – according to Grimm – Horace Epstein, a geneticist at the Lachen Institute in Trenton, New Jersey, was the man behind the research.
Epstein believed certain people were funnier than others due to some genetic variation and thus, set out to look for a family with “strong humor history.”
Finally, Epstein and his team discovered one large family, down in “Gobblers Knob, Kentucky,” that he deemed fit for his research.
Note: Yes, the city the family lived in is, in fact, called “Gobblers Knob.” No, I did not make that up, and I’m not sure I could’ve even if I tried.
Epstein compared members of this family who loved “Seinfeld” with members of the family who preferred more news-oriented programming like C-SPAN – and narrowed down “the gene’s location to a large tract of DNA sequence on the X chromosome.”
Personally, I find it very refreshing Epstein chose “Seinfeld” to be the television-standard for whether or not you have a decent sense of humor.
At the same time, I found it equally amusing he chose “C-SPAN” to represent the lack of a sense of humor. Although, personally, I find Walter Pincus pretty hilarious.
Using computer databases, Epstein located “candidate genes” by identifying any variations on the strands of the “Seinfelders’” DNA when compared to that of the “C-SPANers’.” Then, Epstein continued to express these genes in mice.
While many of them led to no significant effect, there was one gene – the HAHA-1 – that provoked the mice to make a “high-pitched squeak” when shown a picture of a cat getting hit by an anvil.
Granted, while this is far from concrete evidence, Epstein seems to think “we can safely assume the mice were laughing at the cat’s misfortune.”
I’m not sure I’m necessarily sold on the fact that mice are capable of laughing, but I guess you can’t really rule it out.
Frankly, I don’t have all that much experience telling jokes to mice.
Moving on, this gene’s protein contains “a large number of histidines and alanines,” which is why researchers claim to have named it “HAHA-1.” Thus, people who we would consider “funnier” – such as comedians and class clowns – would theoretically possess higher levels of this protein.
While I’m not sure the extent of how responsible this gene is for making certain people funnier than others, I do believe one’s “sense of humor” deals more with nature than nurture.
And here’s my rationale: Everyone has at least one person in his or her group of friends who simply doesn’t get it.
No matter how many years this person spends hanging out with funny people, soaking up their comedic tricks, taking notes – one would think, after a while, he or she would get it.
I guess it’s plausible that these people just lack high quantities of the HAHA-1 gene. And, as a result, the people around them remain lacking “hahas” too.
Get it? Hahas…