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Why Do We Laugh? The Psychology & Culture of Humor


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Why Do We Laugh? The Psychology & Culture of Humor

Community Conversations is an academic program that is one of the Living Learning Initiatives of University Housing in partnership with the Clark Honors College, the Oregon Humanities Center, and Undergraduate Studies. The goal of Community Conversations is to stimulate intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, contrarian debate, and articulate discourse among the 3,300+ residential students at the University of Oregon.


  • Michael Jenkins
    Professional comedian and one-half of the professional bi-racial comedy team, “the Others Brothers” will open the evening by performing about 10-15 minutes of his interactive act on stage, with assistance from audience volunteers, and then join the faculty panel as a speaker. A favorite everywhere, audiences and critics are saying great things about the musical comedy of Michael Jenkins. The ONLY electric ukulele playing comedian in the known world. Michael has performed in and “headlines” for comedy clubs and events all over North America, including the Oregon State Fair and Expo, Harvey’s Comedy Club, Chinook Winds Casino, Spirit Mountain Casino and the 2002 & 2003 Bite, Portland’s largest outdoor food festival. Michael has also recently toured with Jimmy “JJ” Walker from the 70’s TV show “Good Times” and the “Gong Shows” Legendary Unknown Comic. Mike’s credits include appearances on “The Comedy Channel” and “Americas Funniest People”.
  • Heidi Connole
    Instructor of Leadership & Communication, Lundquist College of Business. Heidi will discuss the topic of “leadership humor” and its role in mediating conflict, alleviating anxiety, and inspiring confidence.
  • Whitney Phillips
    Third year PhD student with a emphasis in Folklore and writing instructor in the English department. She studies online culture, specifically transgressive humor within trolling and gaming subcultures, and is particularly interested in viral humor.

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