Next Meetup

What Are You Laughing At? (repeat)
It is said that there is a grain of truth in every joke and that’s what makes it funny. Whether that statement itself is true or not is debatable, but it does beg the question what makes something funny? Humor seems to be a universal phenomenon shared by every society and culture; it has an innumerable number of styles or types; and at times it even defies categorization. Although the concept of humor is universal what each individual finds funny varies greatly. Why does one person find something funny and another find it offensive or stupid? Maybe just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, comedy is in the belly of the laugher. I can almost guarantee that some of you will think this is hilarious and some of you will think it’s stupid: That was obviously an example of very silly humor and I have more silly links at the bottom of the page, but there are so many styles of comedy: Physical humor, slapstick, political, observational, satire, silliness, clever, intellectual, profane, plays on words, sexual, drug related, standup, improv, gallows, corny, sarcasm, irony, inside jokes, and context specific jokes just to name a few. Judging by how many categories we humans have for humor it seems pretty obvious that it is quite important to us. It can take many forms from just being silly to making statements about who we are and what we value. Can comedy - specifically observational comedy - be a form of philosophy that has embedded in it a universal truth that the punch line reveals? Is it a reflection of who we are, what our definitions of right and wrong are, and what is important to us? What does what we laugh at say about us? We certainly find cat, dog, and monkey videos funny, so is it possible they find humor in watching the everyday lives of their humans? Some studies suggest they may indeed have a sense of humor We celebrate good times by making each other laugh, but laughter also helps us tolerate bad times. It serves as a bonding and social experience; have you ever noticed that when you see something funny on television you are much more likely to laugh out loud when watching with others than when you are by yourself? Humor strikes us at many points that we may not completely understand, such as contagious laughter where you don’t even know what the other person is laughing at, yet you start laughing too; or conversely a pun may evoke a visceral groan from an audience. In this meetup we will have a lot of laughs talking about a lot of laughs, but also why it is such an important part of the human experience and how it can reveal interesting truths, as well as shining a light on hypocrisy by framing situations with humor as an abstraction. Here are some links from some of my favorite comedy bits. Please feel free to add your favorites in the comment section. MONTY PYTHON: Silly walk funniest joke argument CLASSICS WITH ROOTS IN VAUDEVILLE: Abbott and Costello Who's on First? Marx Brothers A Night at the Opera contract The Three Stooges old vaudeville bit SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: White like me Wild and crazy guys 60 minutes Synchronized swimming OTHERS: Bugs Bunny Seinfeld A Standup Philosopher Taxi

Free Library - Independence Branch

18 S. Seventh St. · Philadelphia, PA

What we're about

The Greater Philadelphia Thinking Society is a Meetup group that brings together thoughtful people for stimulating and civically minded conversations.

We meet in a relaxed setting on almost every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 AM and occasionally in the evening. Most of our events aim for a small group ambiance with about 10-12 participants. Sometimes we use larger spaces with different group dynamics and formats.

Almost all our events engage participants in a group conversation to explore a wide range of topics including society & culture, philosophy & religion, design, science & technology, psychology, politics, economics, and current events.

We organize a safe, facilitated forum of inquiry and exploration.

Our interactive format engages participants to speak up and be heard, to explore our assumptions, to listen and hear others, and to find and build meanings.

We value topics that matter, diverse points of view and ways of knowing, sensitive listening, and your contributions to our explorations.

In addition to ideas and resources posed by the event host(s), our conversations are informed by participants exchanging experiences, interpretations, understandings, beliefs, feelings, values, thoughts, and ways of thinking.

Through discourse and consideration these ideas can reveal a web of relationships which participants can form into meaningful insights and new possibilities.

We start the conversation so come participate and accept your own genius.

For more information about our group including our list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit About the Greater Philadelphia Thinking Society (

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