When comedian Tig Notaro found out she had breast cancer, she incorporated the grim news into her stand-up routine—and got quite a few laughs from the audience. Notaro and neuroscientist Robert Provine discuss the origins of laughter, what separates the amusing from the truly funny, and why even tragedy sometimes gets a laugh.
Tig Notaro is a writer and comedian based in New York, New York.
Robert Provine is the author of Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond (Belknap Press, 2012) and a neuroscientist and professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Baltimore, Maryland.
Meet the Producer
About Christopher Intagliata@cintagliata
Christopher Intagliata was Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.