Math & Humor

There are books on this intersection (e.g., John Allen Paulos’ Mathematics and Humor) and over the years, I’ve created various humorous items in the context of mathematics/statistics education, informed by a comedy course I took in Austin in fall 1989 from Sam Cox via UT Informal Classes that yielded a 5-minute bit at the Laff Stop.

classroom lessons driven by a syndicated comic strip: 

L. M. Lesser (2018). Classroom notes: ‘One in ten’. Teaching Statistics, 40(1), 33-34.

L. M. Lesser (2016). The stature of salary: Raised expectations or a tall tale?, Mathematics Teacher,  110(3), 168-169.

L. M. Lesser (2015). Normally speaking, Mathematics Teacher, 108(6), 408, 410.

L. M. Lesser (2012). Lottery lunacy, Mathematics Teacher,  106(2), 93-94.

L. M. Lesser (2010). The high school weirdness factor, Mathematics Teacher, 103(7), 474-477.

L. M. Lesser (2008). Safe Havens graph, Mathematics Teacher, 101(9), 690, 692.

L. M. Lesser (2007). A round this date in time; Pizza pi, anyone? Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 12(7), 383, 387.

selected STEM education humor-related items published

Lesser, L. (ongoing).  20+ cartoon captions (largely from winning monthly blind peer-reviewed national contests), 1 puzzle, 25 poems, 37 jokes, and 62 songs in CAUSEweb collection of statistics educational fun items; also, I have many of my math songs posted at, such as the humorous “Talkin’ Real-Life Problem Blues” (a winning song in the 2018 Open Set math song contest held by the National Museum of Mathematics)

Lesser, L. (2021). 2020 Questions. Journal of Irreproducible Results, 53(2), 8.

Lesser, L. (2017). Political statistical joke. Radical Statistics, no. 118, 35.

Lesser, L. M. (2015). Inequality Proof. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 5(2), 185.

Lesser, L. M. (2014). Dicey Simulation Examples Made while ‘On a Roll’ in Pair-a-Dice. Journal of Irreproducible Results, 52(3), 15.

Lesser, L. (2014). “Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day”. Authored text and idea of cartoon that John Landers drew for display at and

Lesser, L. (June 2013). One mean class. Statistics Teacher Network, no. 81, p. 20. [dramatic sketch]

Lesser, L. (2012). Using snakes to constrict statistics anxiety. Teaching Statistics, 34(3), 111.

Lesser, L. M. (2010). Watch your language when teaching mathematics! Journal of Irreproducible Results, 51(1), 8-9.

Lesser, L. (2007). “The Like-hurt scale of pleasurable pain” & “The tuna fish scale.”  Published entries in the J.I.R.’s national science “scales of measurement” humor contest, Journal of Irreproducible Results, 50(4), pp. 10, 13. [they won first place and honorable mention, respectively]

Lesser, Larry (2006). Resources for Humor/Fun/Motivation in the Mathematics/Statistics Classroom.  Handbook of the 17th annual meeting of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, p. 87.  Princeton, NJ: AATH.

Lesser, L. M. (2003). Further Comments and Cautions on Using Humor [letter]. Journal of Statistics Education, 11(1).