Uncertainty and Surprisal Jointly Deliver the Punchline: Exploiting Incongruity-Based Features for Humor Recognition

12/22/2020 ∙ by Yubo Xie, et al. ∙ 0

Humor recognition has been widely studied as a text classification problem using data-driven approaches. However, most existing work does not examine the actual joke mechanism to understand humor. We break down any joke into two distinct components: the set-up and the punchline, and further explore the special relationship between them. Inspired by the incongruity theory of humor, we model the set-up as the part developing semantic uncertainty, and the punchline disrupting audience expectations. With increasingly powerful language models, we were able to feed the set-up along with the punchline into the GPT-2 language model, and calculate the uncertainty and surprisal values of the jokes. By conducting experiments on the SemEval 2021 Task 7 dataset, we found that these two features have better capabilities of telling jokes from non-jokes, compared with existing baselines.

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