Longtime Point readers may remember that Justin E.H. Smith contributed to our issue 14 “What is comedy for?” symposium back in 2017. He now returns to the subject for us with this episode of “What Is X?” on humor. Joining him is Luvell Anderson, a philosophy professor at Syracuse currently at work on a book on the ethics of racial humor, from its dangers and transgressions to its progressive potential. Humor, Luvell tells Justin, is “a kind of dialogue with its culture, the cultural milieu in which it’s set.” So how, his project asks, should ethical considerations and cultural context bear on our judgments of what’s funny? What are the advantages and disadvantages of crude and less “respectable” humor, and what do we miss when we ignore their function as highly ritualized practices? What forms of communication is humor capable of that conventionally rational argument is not? To explore these questions, Justin and Luvell tackle a number of topics: the limits of satire, the tense relationship between humor and morality, and what Dave Chappelle and Hannah Gadsby have in common. Along the way, they also discuss why the Greeks thought lettuce was so funny, the tragedy of Richard Pryor, and whether a theorist of comedy needs a good sense of humor.