Talks range from 20 minutes to 3 hours (though, unfortunately, none that are exactly
1 hour 12 minutes) and include copious comedy clips featuring everyone from
Chaplin to Schumer, Keaton to Key & Peele, the Marx Brothers to Monty Python.
For General Audiences
(*click for more info)
The Secret Life of Jokes
Jokes – comedy in miniature – show how humor works.
The 15 Greatest Satirical Songs
From opera to rap; including Tom Lehrer, Saturday Night Live, Randy Newman,
Gilbert & Sullivan, Monty Python, Chuck Berry, “Weird Al” Yankovic, South Park.
The Jewish Question
Is there a connection between comedy and Jews? What, are you meshuga?
“A Brief History of Timing: The Story of Stand-Up”
Women Aren’t Funny
Like Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy,
Amy Poehler, Samantha Bee? Men who still say that aren’t sexist – they’re stupid.
A look at the history of women in comedy.
OucHa! Why Pain Is Hilarious (If It’s Someone Else’s)
How comedy uses and abuses the body.
Buster Keaton: Existential Slapstick
The Theology of Ha!
The relationship between comedy and the divine (yes, there is one).
(David’s essay “The F-Word” appears in “Faith:
Essays from Believers, Agnostics and Atheists”)
Why Comedy Matters
What comedy means, how comedy means, and
how to achieve transcendence through fart jokes.
Primarily for Professional/Academic Audiences
Comedy v. Drama
What’s the difference? The answer’s not so simple.
(Video: “Academic Audiences” #3)
The Illogic of Comedy
The roles of Logic, Nonsense and Meaning.
The Biology of Ha!
What science tells us about comedy.
(Video: “Academic Audiences” #2)
The Philosophy of Ha!
From Plato and Aristotle to Mel Brooks and Steve Martin.