Ask most people what they’re looking for in a partner, and ‘someone who makes me laugh’ or a ‘good sense of humour’ is likely to be near the top of their list.
But who’s to say what’s funny and what isn’t? A good fart joke, for instance, can easily divide opinions in the humour stakes (how can people not like fart jokes?), while wit or wordplay also aren’t everyone’s idea of pun (sorry).
In fact, sharing a similar sense of humour is so important when it comes to finding the right partner, data scientists at eHarmony have conducted research in the hope of incorporating the results into the site’s algorithm to ensure better profile matches in future.
According to lead data scientist Jonathan Beber, the research kicked off after an analysis which focused on married couples in the first four years of marriage.
“We asked them about laughter with their partner: did they laugh at the same things? Share a similar humour? Do you laugh at things with your friends but not your partner?,” Beber told HuffPost Australia.
“What we found was married couples who shared a similar style of humour tended to have happier and more successful relationships in their first few years of marriage, and we wanted to dive deeper into that.”
From there, the team spent two months “scouring clips on YouTube in the name of research” to ascertain how many different sorts of humour there actually were. Their answer? Nine.
Which ones speak to you?
Also referred to as slapstick, this style of humour involves physicality. It can be everything from clowns to mimes to funny facial expressions to someone falling over. Or, in other words, the entire audience of ‘Australia’s Funniest Home Videos’.
This kind of humour is a favourite among stand-up comedians, in which they basically make themselves the butt of a joke and are rewarded with laughs.
It’s also a style that has been further popularised by the internet, particularly with memes.
As suggested by the name, this style of humour can be pretty weird, featuring illogical events, absurd situations or nonsensical themes. Or in other words, just plain silly. The best example of this would have to be ‘Monty Python’... enjoy.
Comedy without a plan. Ever seen ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ or ‘Thank God You’re Here?’ That’s what we’re talking about.
The fact you know the person is making up the jokes on the spot makes this style of comedy even funnier (and impressive, if they do it well).
Usually a play on words, this humour involves twisting language around with humorous results. (And yes, puns do fall into this category. Dads everywhere, rejoice.)
Humour based on current events or trends. ‘Saturday Night Live’ would be a prime example of this, as would most sketch comedy shows or late-night talk shows. This sort of humour requires having a thorough knowledge of what’s going on in the world (news, elections, pop culture etc.) and the ability to put a humorous spin on it.
The ability to poke fun at everyday life.
Ah, yes, the home of the old toilet joke. This is everything to do with farts or other bodily functions. This is a divisive type of humour that tends to be popular with men and teenagers.
This style of humor usually involves some dark, depressing underlying themes, but throws some comical or unusual situations in this setting.
So, given the current political climate, you can refer back to joke #7. Or, you know. This.
It might come as a surprise that in a trial of 200 people, eHarmony found dark humour to be the least popular while physical humour came out on top.
In saying that, educated people tended to find physical humour less funny than wit and wordplay, while older people found everything less funny across the board.
But what to make of all this data?
eHarmony hopes to factor the nine factors of humour into their algorithm in the next six months or so. Here’s hoping it helps you find your fellow weirdo.