Friday, April 5, 2013

Back By Popular Demand

Hi HumorQ Fans,

By popular demand I return to the blog with another champion interview...

An Interview With HumorQ Champion Ted Rivera

UB: So, you’re a HumorQ champion. To what do you credit such an impressive sense of humor?

Ted: My parents have no sense of irony (we're Puerto Rican), so I ended up overcompensating for this. Also, I watch a lot of Telemundo. Oh, and vodka.

UB: Do you have some sort of ritual that you do that helps you submit champion caliber captions?

Ted: I check in early to see what fiendish new panel Uncle Bob has devised and drive myself crazy all day trying to think of something that makes me laugh or at least smile.

UB: Are there certain people you’d like to approach and say “Remember that day you said I wasn’t funny? Well my humorq is 200”

Ted: My entire high school graduation class. Also, everyone I've ever worked with, dated or met in passing.

UB: Let’s say you realized a tiny goat family has been living in the glove compartment of your car, what would you say to them?

Ted: Wow, I have a car!!

UB: Fair is fair. Do you have a question for me?

Ted: Any projects coming up? Books, compilations, shows, schemes, plots to overthrow the government?

UB: As a matter fo fact I will be once again competing in the Funniest Person In Austin contest.  I go up on Sunday April 14th, and I'll hopefully get some video posted sometime soon thereafter.

In case you happen to write one liner jokes too, what (tasteful) one liner joke of yours would you like me to try out for you at my next open mic visit? (which I would put on youtube so you could see if it worked)

Ted: OK, true story. A female friend once had a guy brag to her about his equipment, stating it was 9 inches, then amending that by saying it was actually 81/2. She said, “Oh, so you round up?” Is that too racy?

UB: Is there another website (besides HumorQ.com where we put a number oh how funny people are), that you would like the world to know about?

Ted: I find The Onion pretty darn funny (though it's not for everyone's tastes).


UB: Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with the people learning about HumorQ?

Ted: Stick with it and try to play every day. It took me about a year and a half to become the champion of the month – yes, I'm in the Pantheon! But seriously, subtlety, irony and absurdity can be your best friends. Usually short and snappy is better, unless you have a really great idea and a punchline to go with it. Mostly just have fun and don't get discouraged. Some of my own personal favorite captions struck out worse than the '62 Mets. You just never know what will go over big and what will sink like a stone.

And let's all thank Uncle Bob for giving us this little oasis in an all too often tough, cold world.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Humorous Charade

It was likely 1971 in the family room of my Aunt and Uncle's home at 506 Delaware Ave in Tonawanda, New York.  I was gathered with my two brothers and my four cousins and in the center of the room was my brother Dick laying on his back with his arms flat but his legs pulled above and over his head.  My brother Mike began to laugh pretty hard while myself and my cousins shouted "The Blob", ... "Head Over Heels?... "Do something else...".  Meanwhile my brothers were both laughing quite hard by now and soon we were just all laughing right along with them as Dick said "Give up?" and we all conceded quickly that more time was far less important than all our needs to know.

Dick announced "I'm a fig".

My brother Michael had been assigned the role of King Charade with the duty of assigning the role player something to act out.  He had written on my brothers small torn piece of paper "A fig".  My brother Dick was essentially assigned an unachievable task to use only your body to make someone guess "a fig".

Come deeper with me into this moment in time and see how wonderful this simple story really was.  It's 1971 and for many of you that were alive then you may remember it as a country in a bit of turmoil.  A very misunderstood war, riots, drugs, racial violence, assassinations....  Now let's go into that family room.  Myself 11, my brother Dick 12, and my brother Mike 13 with our father deceased 8 years ago and our mother in the hospital dying a slow cancerous death.  Joined in the room by our cousins who's parents opened their home to us and without saying it presented their own kids a choice - share or be bitter.  Outside the room but still very much a part of this new blended family were my Aunt and Uncle of course and two more older sisters of mine and a brother turning 18 and about to join the marines.  A dozen people tossed together on one of life's interesting journeys.

There was so many influences that could take a boy to a dark place but we had found an oasis in the form of humor at least for those moments.  A place where my brother Mike's creative brain wandered long enough to come up with "A fig" and my brother Dick's creative brain read that piece of paper and chose to react with humorous absurdity.

That moment in time was a great lesson in the power of humor.  It demonstrated how humor can allow an innocent escape, provide much needed comfort, and bond tightly together the people that share it.

A fig.  Go figure.

Monday, April 9, 2012

An Interview With HumorQ Champion Michael Alpiner


UB: So, you’re a HumorQ champion.  To what do you credit such an impressive sense of humor?

MA:  My father always shared his love of laughter with me, whether it was the “pun battles” we had, or just sitting and watching The Honeymooners.  Eventually, my skill with language fed into the selection of just the right word to make something funny.

UB: Do you have some sort of ritual that you do that helps you submit champion caliber captions?

MA: I usually analyze the cartoon for a while (longer if Bob sketches it – hehe) and then come back later in the day to deliver the zinger.

UB: Are there certain people you’d like to approach and say “Remember that day you said I wasn’t funny?  Well my humorq is (fill in your humorq here)” ? 

MA:Not really. I was always known as a funny person.  I never had to prove it to anyone.

UB: Let’s say you realized a tiny goat family has been living in the glove compartment of your car, what would you say to them? 

MA: First I would name the father Billy Goat Gruff-compartment, then I would ask if their “kid” was old enough to drive, but they would just tell me my jokes were Ba-a-a-a-d.

UB: Fair is fair.  Do you have a question for me? 

MA: Do you have plans for hooking your champions up with the New Yorker so that we can actually make money with our talent? Beyond the Starbucks gift card, of course. (joking).

UB: I actually do have plans for you to make money with your talents.  But first I think a larger portion of the world has to recognize the value of a HumorQ.

UB: In case you happen to write one liner jokes too, what (tasteful) one liner joke of yours would you like me to try out for you at my next open mic visit? (which I would put on youtube so you could see if it worked)

MA: It actually came from my wife while we were watching a news report about a church that had fire damage after being hit by lightening.  We wondered if on the insurance report, the church claimed that the lightening was an act of God…

UB: Is there another website (besides HumorQ.com where we put a number oh how funny people are), that you would like the world to know about? 

MA: Besides sites listing straw poll results for the 2012 Republican candidates, no.

UB: Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with the people learning about HumorQ?  

MA: It is both challenging and addictive, showing how funny some people are, and how unfortunately unfunny others are.  But, hey, we all love to laugh, so it’s all good.  Bob stepped up to create a pretty cool idea where in this life, often overcome by sadness, one can spread some joy. Thank you, Bob.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Annual HumorQ.com Humor Demographics Report

Greetings and welcome to the first published humorq.com study brought to you by yours truly... Bob DiPasquale.  I'm an application developer and a humor enthusiast.  Like many humor enthusiasts I enjoy contests like the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest but I continued to get frustrated with their winner selections and I was convinced that most people would agree that mine were better.  I set out to prove that and that's what brings us here.

In 2010 I created a website called humorq.com where I host my own cartoon caption contest and I insist that entrants act as judges of a sampling of prior contest captions before being allowed to enter their caption for the latest contest.  This means every caption sees a sampling of judges and based on their selection percentage I'm able to give every caption a score and every member maintains an overall all time score called their humorq.  We give bonus points when a member is able to select what will eventually become the most popular of the captions on their list of five choices presented to them during voting.  This prevents bias and keeps players from rushing through the voting portion.  The site and contest is growing in modest popularity as it gets ramped up in it's current noncommercial mode.

So let me give you a brief summary of the data before we get going.  At summary time we have 3928 caption entries from 238 humorq members.  Each caption was presented an average of 15 times on a list of 5 choices so what we have here already is mass judgements of over 50000 caption presentations.  Humorq scores are scaled on a distribution between 0 and 200 so a Median humorq score Is 100.  During humorq.com registration members are asked as an option to provide a number of demographics.  Most chose not to provide all of them and no doubt some members don't take the demographic questions seriously (we are talking about funny people after all). So below I will try to provide my opinions of where the data was telling even with these considerations.

Since being interested in this topic it seems I've noticed there's an article per month printed somewhere about whether men are really funnier than women.  A recent study from the University of San Diego was done and actually used methods similar to ours at humorq.com although theirs was on a considerably smaller scale.  Our results are similar to theirs though and shows men with a slight edge. My wife is a very important person in my life so I have no plans to expand on this data ( so many people do anyway ).  I think women are much better looking than men.  I'll shut up on this one now. 




Moving on...quickly... I have some good news for us baby boomers... grey haired people are the funniest. That's right young people, you can mountain climb and all that but while you're up there we will be down here making people laugh.  Blonds did not finish last by the way probably because they have overheard many good jokes.




Its an election year right?  Seems like an important time to note that democrats are funniest.  Apparently they don't take anything seriously.  Republicans ...well.. they made a showing but frankly I'm surprised many could stomach our member agreement.  Funny thinking and conservative thinking...how well should that go together anyway?


Hey Lefties!!!  Way to go!  Clearly more creative as has been a theory in a number of circles.  In case some of you righties plan to start entering captions left handed,  I don't think that's going to help.


The class demographic is very interesting with the 20 to 80K coming out on top, followed by the upper middle class, followed by the wealthy, followed by those under 20k.  Since I'm a member of the leading demographic I will conclude that the reason for us rising to the top is our familiarity with both tragedy and part time happiness.


For fun one of the demographics I ask for upon registration is a simple NASCAR yes or no.  NASCAR no scored significantly higher.  I should probably be more cautious not to offend offensives drivers but how creative can people watching cars go around an oval 200 times be?  I invite additional NASCAR fans to join humorq.com to correct the data when they're done watching wrestling.


I find the Marital Status demographic an interesting result too.  Apparently if your spouse dies there's an eventual enlightenment on what true humor is.  My mom was a widow with six kids and never shot a gun at any of us so I'm sure her sense of humor was pretty high.  The 'Other' marital status...well... it's fun just imagining the possible scenarios there.  They don't classify themselves as single so I guess they are in the sort of relationship where they are free to make certain choices and that untethered spirit breeds funny captions.... yeah, let's go with that.  The single people are apparently preoccupied with their marital status.


Congratulations self proclaimed spazzy nerdy people.  You are the funniest.  I would assume this includes Steve Martin, Will Ferrell,  Jim Parsons and several more of my favorites although if one of the personality choices would have been "God Like" I'm guessing that would have been chosen by the funniest of the Spaz and Nerd demographics. Special and Freaky people continue to be misunderstood by the masses but quite possibly may be OK with that.


There are some additional demographics not charted here due to their lack of data points so far including funniest states, cities, universities... but I'm hopeful our membership will grow large enough to include these demographics in the 2013 report.

I mentioned at the start of this report that my motivation was to prove myself funnier than most so I'm sure you're all wondering where I fit in.  What's my humorq?  I'm afraid I don't know.  I unfortunately haven't grown this marvelous little exercise enough to step away and let others take the controls.  A man with a good suit does not measure it himself nor will I.  So please help us grow and spread the word about HumorQ.com if you plan to use this data and maybe I can get a new suit... if you know what I mean.

Here's what I plan to do from here about this study ... I'm going to see if anyone with a recognized reputation will either publish or comment on it.  Below is a list of people/organizations I will be sending this study to and ask for them to comment on the study itself and their interest in it.  I can provide more details about the data upon request.


Peter McGraw / Joel Warner - Humor Research Laboratory - University of Colorado at Boulder
-
Hi, Bob.

Thanks for the note. It looks like you are having a good time with your humorq study. At this time, I cannot commit to critiquing your work, but we (Joel and I) will keep you in mind as we pursue our humor code project. In the meantime, good luck with your project.

All the best,
pete

Janice McIntire-Strassburg - Exec Director of American Humor Studies Assoc - Saint Louis University
- So far no comment

Cathleen Moore - Department of Psychology - University of Iowa
- So far no comment

Willibald Ruch - President of International Society for Humor Studies - University of Zurich
- Alternate Response

Bob:

     Your enterprise looks like it might have potential, but I don't have time to look into the details.  Sorry about that.

Don Nilsen, Co-Chair
Emeritus College Humanities Faculty
Arizona State University
Co-Founder
International Society for Humor Studies

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Poem - Somewhat Stolen By Many - Just Taking My Turn

Season's Greetings!

In appreciation for hitting 400 members and in celebration of the holiday season I offer the following Uncle Bob original ... 

Twas the week before Christmas and all 'cross the webs.
We was all eatin snack cakes - most better than Little Deb's.
The flockings had started to HumorQ on a dare,
In hopes that high humor scores soon would be there.

The cartoons were nestled all snug in their spot,
While four hundred captioners wondered a lot.
With me at the 'puter, and Mom at the TV,
We both kept on yellin' "Come here and see."

Some say I am jolly and lively and quick,
Please make no mistake I'm far from St. Nick.
But for those that are loyal to my fun little game,
I will take this moment to call some by name.

On Rita, On Joey, On Myrna and Cary
On Ashley, On Janet, On Sirrob and Barry.
And lots more names that are real hard to rhyme,
It's great that our website and you have shared time.

In two thousand twelve I hope you remain,
And thousands of others climb on our train.
That HumorQ grows bigger in need of a staff,
But most of all I wish you all a good laugh!

Merry Christmas! And thanks for being part of http://HumorQ.com .
Uncle Bob

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dear Will Ferrell Haters

Dear Will Ferrell Haters,

I'm sorry but it's you that is wrong with the world of humor.  You criticize a man that has mastered performance of the silly.  Silly - Exhibiting a lack of wisdom or good sense; foolish.  Silly my friends goes back to the days of court jesters and has been one of the purest forms of humor for many centuries.  My guess is Will could tell you stories of his great great great great great great granduncle Willius Ferrelldom the redundantly great court Jester of Laughious the III.  Alas, you find this not funny.

I'm guessing the root of your hatred grows from the definition of arrogance - making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud.  Do you share the same feelings toward the Stooges, or perhaps Lucille Ball?  Your intelligence my friends is serving as your enemy.  You see it as deserving of some humor exclusivity when in fact exclusivity is what narrows your humor score.  Laughter is our bond with an intelligent universe and foolishness bridges the masses.  In addition, laughing at the same things our children laugh at is an important connection we have with them and finding the humor in a character like Will Ferrell's Buddy the Elf is one of the greatest connections you can share with your children.

I can appreciate that the subject matter of some Will Ferrell films is adolescent and perhaps reminds you of a period in your life that is important to put behind you.  It's just more exclusion though and a barrier between yourself and a large group of people.  I ask you  - "How big are the rooms you laugh in?", "How hearty a laugh comes from your body?", "When is the last time you shared a laugh with a child or a stranger?".  I am proud of my answers to these questions and I hope you come over to my side someday.  Times a wastin'.

Got your nose.

Bob DiPasuale
Http://HumorQ.com Founder

Thanks to Dictionary.com for the definitions mentioned above.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's Allgood People


A discussion with frequent HumorQ Winner Joey Allgood... 

So, you’re a HumorQ champion.  To what do you credit such an impressive sense of humor?

My wife is my harshest critic, so I’m under constant pressure to meet her standard of funny. Once while we were dating, I uttered a mediocre pun and spent the next month sleeping on the couch. We weren’t even living together!

Do you have some sort of ritual that you do that helps you submit champion caliber captions?

I usually log in pretty early in the day and see what the new caption is, then maul it over in my head for a while until I come up with something that makes me laugh. That should be everyone’s barometer of funniness.

Are there certain people you’d like to approach and say “Remember that day you said I wasn’t funny?  Well my humorq is (fill in your humorq here)” ?

There’s a couple, but it would be in poor taste to gloat and mock at this point. Does that make me a better person than Elisha Allgood or Russ Clinton? I’ll let you decide.

Let’s say you realized a tiny goat family has been living in the glove compartment of your car, what would you say to them?

Nothing. I’d let the vacuum do the talking.

Fair is fair.  Do you have a question for me?

Nope, I have two. Is there a way to provide an edit option on a caption you submitted on that day? I get why editing your caption after it’s been voted on would be a bad idea, but sometimes you misspell a word or think of a funnier way to phrase something. Also, would it be possible to add an option to add bold, italics, underlines, etc. to captions?

Yes there’s a way.  But you asked two questions so I can’t help you until some penalty period passes.

In case you happen to write one liner jokes too, what (tasteful) one liner joke of yours would you like me to try out for you at my next open mic visit? (which I would put on youtube so you could see if it worked)

I’m just curious, does anyone here know if bulimics prefer finger food?

Joey, you should be ashamed.  Bulimic finger jokes are in ‘bad taste’.
Is there another website (besides HumorQ.com where we put a number on how funny people are), that you would like the world to know about?

Sure! My lovely and talented wife helped set up a place for me to put my creations (mostly caption wins and fake news articles at the moment)… it’s at https://joeyallgood.wordpress.com/

Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with the people learning about HumorQ? 

If you’re anything like me when I first joined, the first few weeks were brutal. Give it time and don’t lose heart. It takes a while familiarize yourself with the type of entries that win. Scroll through past winners and get a feel for the kind of humor voters appreciate. And above all, BE PATIENT! There are a lot of talented captioneers out there. Just when you think you’ve written a “sure thing”, people like Cary Antebi, Rita Welegala, and Ted Rivera will come up with something that makes you embarrassed by what you submitted. And if you think you deserved a name check in the previous sentence, win next month’s contest and prove me wrong… :)