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LHU News

LHU communication professor, McKeague '06, published in Comedy Studies journal

Matthew McKeague '06

Dr. Matthew McKeague, a 2006 LHU graduate and assistant professor of communication at Lock Haven University, has been published in the journal, Comedy Studies, advancing his research line of humor analysis.

McKeague’s article, “Comedy Comes in Threes: Developing a Conceptual Framework for the Comic Triple Humor Technique,” breaks down The Comic Triple humor technique. This tactic involves two items in dialogue or a visual sequence that set an expected pattern, then broken with a third item for comedic effect. In his article, McKeague advances the field by standardizing The Comic Triple’s three parts through proposed terminology and definitions for all components — there is currently no means to break down this frequently used technique.

“There’s a common outlook that analyzing humor is much like dissecting a frog because it dies in the process. I have not found that to be the case, as discovering why certain jokes are funny has been tremendously rewarding,” McKeague said. “This new model provides a means to understand and discuss one of the foundational humor techniques, while incorporating terminology from professional comedy production into the research.”

Continuing with his article, McKeague expands on his conceived conceptual framework with a model that classifies all Comic Triples in two ways: The Immediate Comic Triple, one that occurs in a few seconds, or The Delayed Comic Triple, one that occurs over the course of a longer narrative. To conclude the article, he performed an example analysis of a Three Stooges short film to show the analytic power of using standardized terms and categorizations to study Comic Triples.

“The feedback received from this article has been extremely positive. I plan to continue to meld the worlds of professional comedy writing and humor studies with future models addressing additional techniques as well,” McKeague said. “Being able to combine my loves for humor and higher education is an absolute joy.”

The article was published on the journal’s website in September and will be published in the 2021 winter issue. To view McKeague’s article, visit

For more information about the Department of Communication at LHU, visit

For more information on Lock Haven University, visit, email, or call 570-484-2011. 

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Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.

LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

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