How Funny is Maine?
Maine is the most amusing state in the nation.
In the November issue of DOWN EAST, Rob Sneddon took a look at humor in Maine. Here are some addition tidbits:
How Funny is Maine?
According to the National Humor Index, it’s the most amusing state in America.
It might be possible to scientifically determine which of the fifty states is funniest through years of controlled studies and painstaking research. But that sounds like a lot of work and not much fun, so we used a cheap gimmick instead. We devised a National Humor Index (NHI) by taking the number of hits we got on Google when we searched each state’s name followed by the word humor, then dividing that figure by each state’s population.
The results weren’t even close. Maine ranked highest with an NHI rating of 8,189 (10,400 Google hits for “Maine humor,” divided by 1.2, the state’s population in millions), more than twice that of the runner-up, Vermont (3,066), and well beyond every other allegedly funny state.
Take Minnesota — please. That state’s woebegone NHI rating of 484 didn’t even crack the top ten, which confirms what we’ve long suspected: Garrison Keillor’s shtick is just warmed-over Bert and I. And if you think living in Illinois wouldn’t be a lot of laughs, you’re right. That state scores lowest on the index, 106, which makes it only slightly less humorous than Massachusetts (110).
From Here to There: What ever happened to Bert and I? That’s quite a story.
After creating Bert and I, Marshall Dodge and Bob Bryan took divergent paths. Dodge remained an enthusiastic proponent of Maine humor until he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Hawaii in 1982. Bryan, a Yale divinity student, had a life-changing event in 1959, just a year after the first Bert and I album came out, when he served as a summer replacement for a local clergyman on the remote Lower North Shore of Quebec. Within two years he had begun what became the Quebec-Labrador Foundation. He remains active as the foundation’s chairman, and is also the Archdeacon of the North Shore Anglican Church of Canada.
While Bryan has flown his seaplane thousands of miles in service of his foundation, he remains remarkably grounded. His bio on the foundation’s website lists his involvement with the New England Grenfell Association and the Waterfowl Research Foundation before it gets around to mentioning that Bryan was a co-creator of Bert and I.
- By: Rob Sneddon