Peter McGraw's humor theory gets the artistic treatment at Fort Collins's Gallery Underground

"The Nutty Professor" subject Peter McGraw's provocative Benign Violation Theory (BVT), which seeks to explain all of comedy, has been generating a lot of attention (including a story in Wired). But the award for the most unusual and creative response goes to the Gallery Underground art space in Fort Collins, since it is putting on show tonight celebrating the CU-Boulder professor, the BVT and what the theorem reveals not just about comedy, but also about art.

The idea for the event came from reading the Westword story on McGraw, says Gallery Underground owner Tomas Herrera. "I liked how the theory suggested that humor is used as an instrument for disarming and breaking down conflict and creating a synthesis," he says. "The arts tend to do that, too -- address conflict and move toward synthesis. That was just interesting to me, and I wanted to get some good conversation going about it."

Hence Herrera's decision for the Gallery Underground, a recently reopened basement-level co-op gallery at 109 Linden Street, to host a show tonight at 6:30 p.m. dedicated to McGraw and the BVT. "I think his work holds a lot more significance than maybe he is getting credit for right now," Herrera says. "I would like him to talk about why this research is significant for him."

McGraw was happy to join in. "It's one of the most novel things to come out of all the publicity around this research," says the professor. "It seems like it's going to be a good time."

It is likely to be a good time, since along with a Q&A with McGraw, local comics, including representatives of Denver's Fine Gentlemen's Club, will be on hand with some of their best routines. Research professors, standup comics and fine art? Sounds like a recipe for high comedy.

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