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A Political Litmus Test, In 6 Jokes

Is it possible to tell if you are a liberal or a conservative by the jokes you think are funny?

Maybe so. "Like smell or taste, humor is a sense and different people are going to think different things are funny," says Alison Dagnes, author of the just-published book A Conservative Walks Into a Bar: The Politics of Political Humor. "When you throw politics into the mix, our opinions and our biases will affect the way the jokes land."

But what if you don't throw politics into the mix? Below are six relatively nonpolitical jokes told by six very politically outspoken comedians — three liberal and three conservative.

Presumably, their jokes are tailored to appeal to conservative or liberal sensibilities. So if you think some are funny and others are not, perhaps your sense of humor has a certain political bent, right? (Or left.)

Read the jokes below and see what you find funny. See if the political inclination of the comic determines what makes you laugh. And if, by some chance, you find jokes from both sides of the aisle to be funny, maybe there is hope — in humor — for America. Perhaps comedy can lead to comity. Wouldn't that be funny?

Joke 1:
"I see where Santa is over at the Stanford Shopping Center this week. At the Stanford Shopping Center, kids ask Santa what HE wants for Christmas."

Right-leaning Albert Vallejo, standup uploaded by ConservativeForum. (1:58)

Joke 2:
"Took my kids shopping at the Beverly Center. Picked them up a Jurassic Park action figure. I got them the thesaurus. This is a tiny creature who often used flowery language to extricate himself from potentially life threatening situations."

Right-leaning Dennis Miller, from Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time. (2:02)

Joke 3:

"I've done my homework, and less than 3 percent of the population actually has nut allergies where an EpiPen must be busted out. How is it you can't walk within 20 feet of a playground with a Snickers bar, [but] a gun ... Sure, that's fine."

Left-leaning Janeane Garofalo, The Jukebox: Anniversary at Union Hall. (3:19)

Joke 4:
"Scientists must explain how it's possible that the tiny island country of Jamaica can at the same time possess all the most stoned people in the world — and all the fastest people in the world."

Left-leaning Bill Maher, Real Time New Rules Aug. 17.

Joke 5:
"Mother used to feed me casserole, which is a French word meaning 'mom didn't shop,' apparently. Because that's what happened. She would literally rifle through the refrigerator every night looking through the leftovers to find a casserole. ... I love you, moms out there, but you know why we have leftovers? We didn't want it the first time."

Right-leaning Brad Stine, Christian Devotions Speak UP. (43:22)

Joke 6:
"I just did my taxes. I did well this year. I didn't have to pay anything. I'll tell you what happened was: Instead of putting my name, I wrote General Electric."

Left-leaning Scott Blakeman at The Actors Temple (4:11)

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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