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young folks

Millennials Just Wanna Laugh

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20:  Jon Stewart attends the Story Pirates 3rd annual "After School Special" fundraiser at Peter Norton's Symphony Space on May 20, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) God?

According to a new survey commissioned by Comedy Central (who just may have some skin in the game), comedy has replaced music, sports, and even "personal style" in helping young adults define their sense of self. A full 88 percent of those surveyed said that sense of humor is vital to it, in fact. Women were included in the statistics, but the network mostly focused in on young men 18-34, who are both more attractive to Comedy Central's advertisers and who comprise more of it, explains the Times.

“We called them Comedy Natives,” said Tanya Giles, the executive vice president for research at Comedy Central’s parent, MTV Networks. “Comedy is so central to who they are, the way they connect with other people, the way they get ahead in the world. One big takeaway is that unlike previous generations, humor, and not music, is their No. 1 form of self-expression.” [...]

Chanon Cook, the top research executive for Comedy Central, said the results also indicated that “irony has been replaced by absurdity.” That is one of many ways she said this generation had separated itself from Generation X, a more dour and cynical group in the Comedy Central analysis, shaped by things like battles over race and class, and growing up as latchkey kids.

Another interesting stat: 58 percent of the respondents said they'll send a link to a funny video to make "what might be called a special impression" on someone else. As far as we can tell, that means "flirt" in Times-ese. Daily Intel can exclusively confirm via occasional field research over the past few years that link-exchange is a relatively new but important part of the mating ritual of millennials, and it put us in mind of another recent survey, this one from Match.com: Among the country's increasingly picky singles, 54 percent said "sense of humor" was a dealbreaker, full-stop. Humor's always been important in dating, of course, but if it's more and more what we get self-definition from, it makes sense that it's being increasingly valued on the romantic market. What seems crucial here, though, isn't the ability to crack a joke, necessarily (although that's certainly never hurt anyone); it's more the ability to appreciate one — or, rather, the right one.

And now, just to make a "special impression" on you, dear reader, enjoy.

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Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images