The Gentle Cemetery

Benign Violation Theory the tattood arm of Lenny Bruce

Updated: 4th November 2023

There are many theories of comedy (or humour) out there but Benign Violation Theory seems to me to be the best one. It makes sense to me and, as you'll see elsewhere, I think the consequences of it are really interesting for talking about all sorts of comedy.

I first heard about the theory in Peter McGraw's Ted Talk about it. It's worth a watch. McGraw set up the HuRL Humour Research Laboratory and wrote a book about the theory with Joel Warner.

One of the motivations for this website is the desire I have to explore that theory more and to try and use it to look at (and maybe even deconstruct) some of the comedy I like in order to try and understand it better.

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