Originally posted on the Viacom Blog.

From the increase in comedy programming to the explosion of live comedy shows and tours, there’s an appetite for comedy like never before. Comedy is a globally relevant genre, so Viacom International Media Networks examined humor in its study “Comedy Across Borders,” spanning 13 markets including the UK, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Key Findings

Comedy is EVERYWHERE. Comedy appeals to all ages and is the #1 interest among 18-34 year olds (78%), ahead of music (66%), sports (49%) and style (45%).

73% of adults saying that they can find humor in pretty much any situation.

Comedy is the only interest to appeal to both men and women equally – 83% of men and 84% of women say they’re interested in comedy.

3 in 4 adults consume at least one piece of comedy content every week. The preferred way to consume comedy is on TV with full-length shows.

Adults are also accessing comedy content on the Internet.

  • 84% have experienced joke/humor sites.
  • Over half experience comedy through pages/feeds of comedians every month.
  • 9 in 10 have experienced funny clips on YouTube.

Comedy is GLOBAL. Sharing comedy content digitally has eliminated borders and facilitated mass reach while also bringing more niche forms of content to new audiences.

  • Most people outside the U.S. prefer U.S. comedy to local.
  • Comedy “celebrities” like Jim Carey, Charlie Sheen or Homer Simpson have global appeal.

Comedy is IDENTITY FORMING. Sense of humor is the #1 definer of personality.

  • 8 in 10 say comedy/humor has helped them identify what they value in a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Comedy enables personal creativity, with 4 in 10 having created some form of comedy clip.

Comedy is SOCIALLY CONNECTING. Itis the #1 social connector above personal style, music tastes, sports fanship and political views.

  • 9 in 10 agree their sense of humor helps them connect with others.
  • Across all regions, 82% of men and women agree that they like humor that brings people together.
  • Friend recommendations are the #1 way to find out about comedy content.
  • Comedy inspires second-screening, with 7 in 10 searching online sources, visiting official program websites or posting on Twitter or Facebook at least once a week.

 Comedy is SOCIAL FUEL. Comedy is the new social currency, with 2 in 3 having shared a funny clip in the last month.

  • 7 in 10 agree “funny people tend to be more popular.”
  • 61% agree that being funny helps them get what they want.
  • 83% of those who post funny content on social media say getting comments from others on the posts is important to them.

Comedy is ESCAPISM.

  • 7 in 10 say comedy helps them to escape the stresses of life, for all ages and everywhere from Mexico (75%) to the UK (68%) and Italy (62%).
  • 2 in 3 watch a comedy show on TV each week.
  • Of those who watch a comedy show on TV each week, 55% watch comedy cartoons; 53% watch sitcoms; 48% watch comedy drama; 37% watch stand-up comedy; and 34% watch sketch comedy.


Comedy is perceived as something that “makes you think,” “pushes boundaries” and “challenges assumptions.”


  • A good sense of humor sets a brand apart from its peers — 6 in 10 agree a brand’s sense of humor is important.
  • People will share funny content and witty campaigns. Brands should make it about the “we” by helping consumers connect with each other through shared laughter.

The Methodology:

This study was based on more than 6,000 online interviews in 13 markets across Europe, Central/South America and Asia (the UK, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia), with participants ages 18-34.

Check out the infographic we created to illustrate our results!