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Andy Daly's Comedy Litmus Test

Last year I saw Andy Daly perform at MaxFunCon, a convention of nice people that happens to include a lot of indie/alternative comedy. I'm an Andy Daly fan, and when he took the stage I grabbed my phone and started recording -- I missed his first line or two, but I got most of his act. What I caught is (to me and to the audience at the convention) a brilliantly executed piece of standup. Daly appears in the character of "Jerry O'Hearn" and does about five minutes of his bit:

To me, this was (and is) the greatest thing that ever happened. I hadn't thought much about why I loved it so much, but after 13,000 people watched it on YouTube and left comments I got an idea of what other people thought about this bit. Many were completely baffled, finding it thoroughly un-funny, and even questioning why people in the audience were laughing at all. Others had to explain Daly's bit (I'll let you go to YouTube in case you need that explanation). I was perplexed, but intrigued. The experience of reading those comments led me to believe that this five-minute video is a comedy litmus test: people who enjoy this will tend towards absurdist or meta-humor (in other words, they're comedy nerds); people who dislike it or are baffled by it are more interested in mainstream comedy (like joke-punchline, joke-punchline). The fact that I find this so brilliant is a form of nerdiness that has to do with the actual structure of jokes themselves ("Hey buddy, somebody called, they want their thing back!").

Do You Love This or Hate It?

I'm curious what you guys think of this thing. You don't have to sit through the whole thing to get the gist of it, though I'd encourage sticking around to roughly the 2:45 mark so you can see the pattern. My main question is whether the Mental Floss audience tends more towards comedy nerdiness in addition to our (let's face it) general nerdiness.

Full disclosure: although I posted this video, I don't make money from it and have turned down YouTube's offers to put ads on it.

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What Pop Culture Gets Wrong About Dissociative Identity Disorder
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From the characters in Fight Club to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, popular culture is filled with "split" personalities. These dramatic figures might be entertaining, but they're rarely (if ever) scientifically accurate, SciShow Psych's Hank Green explains in the channel's latest video. Most representations contribute to a collective misunderstanding of dissociative identity disorder, or DID, which was once known as multiple personality disorder.

Experts often disagree about DID's diagnostic criteria, what causes it, and in some cases, whether it exists at all. Many, however, agree that people with DID don't have multiple figures living inside their heads, all clamoring to take over their body at a moment's notice. Those with DID do have fragmented personalities, which can cause lapses of memory, psychological distress, and impaired daily function, among other side effects.

Learn more about DID (and what the media gets wrong about mental illness) by watching the video below.

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Humblebraggarts Are the Worst (Science Says So)
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Humblebraggarts. We all know (at least) one: that person who takes a woe-is-me tack to ostensibly "complain" about something when the real intent is to boast.

"It's noon, I haven't had a cup of coffee, and the espresso machine at this Mercedes dealer is broken. FML!"

"Have been sitting on the runway for 30 minutes. Next time I'm flying commercial instead of private."

In many ways, it's another version of #FirstWorldProblems, and social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have only made the practice more pervasive. As TIME reports, a new study has concluded that people see right through this fake humility—and like people less for doing it.

Researchers at Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted a series of nine experiments, including a week-long diary study and a field experiment, to both identify the ubiquity of the behavior and then determine its effectiveness as a form of self-presentation. Their findings, which were published in the January Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, determined that if you're going to brag, people would rather you just be transparent about it.

"It's such a common phenomenon," Ovul Sezer, study co-author and an assistant professor of organizational behavior at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School, told TIME. "All of us know some people in our lives, whether in social media or in the workplace, who do this annoying thing. You think, as the humblebragger, that it's the best of both worlds, but what we show is that sincerity is actually the key ingredient."

Of the 646 participants, 70 percent of them could recall a recent humblebrag they'd heard—the majority of which (about 60 percent) were complaint-based. But the study showed, overwhelmingly, that any statements that could be perceived as humblebragging (whether complaint- or humility-based) "are less effective than straightforward bragging, as they reduce liking, perceived competence, compliance with requests, and financial generosity," according to the study's authors.

"Despite the belief that combining bragging with complaining or humility confers the benefits of each strategy," the study concluded, "we find that humblebragging confers the benefits of neither, instead backfiring because it is seen as insincere.”

In other words: they're not fooling anyone.

"If you want to announce something, go with the brag and at least own your self-promotion and reap the rewards of being sincere, rather than losing in all dimensions," Sezer said—though she suggested that an even more effective tactic is to find someone else to boast on your behalf. "If someone brags for you, that's the best thing that can happen to you, because then you don't seem like you're bragging," she told TIME.

However, Sezer's final piece of advice was not to be too hasty in your dismissal of humblebraggarts as a whole. "We all do it, to some extent," she said. "I hope I don't sound like I'm humblebragging when I talk about this research."

[h/t: TIME]

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