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Interview With Zach Weiner
Excerpt from interview:
You know what they say - sufficiently advanced mathematics is indistinguishable from magic. Do you ever find yourself with a hilarious math joke that you have to toss because you realize that 99% of people will raise one eyebrow and walk away?
Horrible truth: If there's a joke 99% of people would hate, it's probably not actually funny. It's probably an inside joke or a bad pun. Here, try an etymology joke: Did you hear the story about the goat? It was a tragedy!
Joke explanation (copied from dictionary.com): tragedy
late 14c., "play or other serious literary work with an unhappyending," from O.Fr. tragedie (14c.), from L. tragedia "a tragedy,"from Gk. tragodia "a dramatic poem or play in formal language andhaving an unhappy resolution," apparently lit. "goat song," fromtragos "goat" + oide "song." The connection may be via satyricdrama, from which tragedy later developed, in which actors orsingers were dressed in goatskins to represent satyrs. But manyother theories have been made (including "singer who competes fora goat as a prize"), and even the "goat" connection is at timesquestioned. Meaning "any unhappy event, disaster" is from c.1500.
Now that you get the joke, is it funny?
That's not to say a confusing joke couldn't be funny. It's just usually the case that a confusing joke is mainly funny because nobody will get it - not because of intrinsic humor.
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