INTERNATIONAL YSU set to host forum on humor

YSU professors and students will present papers on humor studies.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Have you heard the one about the conference at Youngstown State University?
Here's the punch line: The 17th annual conference of the International Society for Humor Studies starts a week from today at YSU's Kilcawley Center.
Researchers and participants from 21 countries will take an educated look at humor. Topics include art, politics, religion, philosophy, folklore, games and stand-up comedy through three days of presentations and discussions.
This year, the conference will include one day of pre-conference seminars. The eight seminars will teach subjects such as data gathering and creating college humor courses.
Throughout the conference there will be workshops for participants to apply strategies learned in the conference. This is the first year workshops have been held at the conference.
Movie exclusive
"Aristocrats," directed by actor-writer Paul Provenza, will be shown at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Moser Auditorium. The film was shown at the Sundance Film Festival and will not be released until July 29. In the film, more than 100 famous comedians tell their versions of the same dirty joke.
Provenza will attend the conference and hold a round-table humor discussion Wednesday morning.
American-Muslim comedian Azhar Usman will present a paper on Islamic humor principles and kick off the open microphone night Wednesday in Peaberry's. He has written for George Lopez, Darrell Hammond and Damon Wayans. Usman also co-created the "Allah Made Me Funny -- Official Muslim Comedy Tour."
Several YSU professors and students will present papers at the conference. Professors include Raymond Beiersdorfer, Mutansir Mir and Stephen Siderman. YSU students will include Alyson Eggleston, Bill Rodgers, Ana Maria Wetzel, Sara Accettura and YSU graduate Lizabeth Heath.
Banquet Thursday
The conference ends Thursday night with a banquet at Vernon's Cafe in Niles. Also, participants will be able to take excursions Friday. They can travel to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Bear Run, Pa., or take a historic look at the steel-making history of Youngstown.
There will be a bookstore at the conference with more than 70 humor studies books available.
Officially created in 1976, the ISHS is an organization dedicated to the advancement of humor research. The group includes members from 30 countries.
Each year, the ISHS conference travels to a new location. In 2006, it will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The event is open to the public and registration is open throughout the conference. The cost of the conference is $50 for all three days. Pre-conference seminars are $30 each or two for $50.
For more information on the International Society for Humor Studies, call (330) 941-1649 or visit

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