Nic Wright

Jimmy Carr to explore the science of laughter

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page


Jimmy Carr is to host a one-off Horizon special, as part of the BBC’s landmark sitcom season, revealing the fascinating science of laughter and comedy.

Jimmy Carr And The Science Of Laughter: A Horizon Special will be an evening of new science, experiments and a whole new theory of funny.

With the help of leading scientists along with Jimmy’s own theories and ideas, together they will try and find answers to what laughter actually is, why we love doing it so much and why we associate laughter with being amused.

Science contributors in the studio will include Professor Sophie Scott from University College London, who is breaking new ground in how the brain processes natural and social laughter; Professor Robin Dunbar from Oxford University, an evolutionary biologist and experimental psychologist who has a theory on why laughter was pivotal in our species development; and Professor Pete McGraw from University of Colorado, a psychologist who claims his controversial theory explains all comedy.

Carr said: “Many Worlds Theory states that in an infinite universe there will be one planet on which I’m presenting ‘Horizon’. I can’t believe your luck – it’s this one.”

Horizon is BBC Two’s flagship science strand, and Jimmy Carr And The Science Of Laughter: A Horizon Special will air as part of the BBC’s landmark sitcom season celebrating the heritage and legacy of BBC comedy over the past 60 years.

The sitcom season will be revisiting some of Britain’s iconic sitcoms, including Porridge and Are You Being Served? alongside launching brand new comedy shows.

Andrew Cohen, Head of BBC Science, said: “An unexpected but brilliant collaboration between BBC Science and Comedy. Science and of course comedy are such a central part of British culture, it’s great to see these two worlds collide with a project that will be as entertaining as it is informative.”

Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy Commissioning, said: “This Horizon special complements our sitcom season perfectly. Our national sense of humour defines and shapes us, so who better than Jimmy Carr to explore what tickles us and help to get under the skin of what is unique about British comedy.”

Steve Crabtree, Horizon Series Editor, sasaidys: “For over 60 years, Horizon has communicated complex science in new and innovative ways; this special will explore what laughter is and why we enjoy it so much – with some of the foremost scientists in the field trying to help Jimmy, and our studio audience, find answers through conversation and experiment.”