When you think about wit, what comes to mind? Someone who’s quick with a funny remark?

My guest today says that while humor is one part of wit, it’s really better thought of in a broader way, as a kind of “improvisational intelligence.” His name is James Geary, and he’s the author of Wit’s End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It. Today on the show, we discuss all things witty. We begin our conversation describing the nature of wit, and how it’s linked to one’s all-around sense of resourcefulness. James then makes the case that instead of getting our contempt, puns should actually be praised as a sophisticated form of wit. We then dig into what fencing and jazz can teach us about the role of improvisation in wit, why we need wit more than ever these days, and what you can do to start being a bit more witty. 

Show Highlights

  • What is wit? What makes something witty?
  • The relationship between wit and humor 
  • The wit of Odysseus 
  • Why puns are underrated  
  • What fencing can teach us about wit 
  • The wittiness of insults (and verbal “combat” in different cultures) 
  • The neuroscience of wit 
  • What’s the state of wit today?
  • Cultivating a witty mindset 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With James

James’ website

James on Twitter

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The post Podcast #522: What Is Wit and Why Does the World Need It? appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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