TBS is up to more funny business in a new campaign from Mother New York. More specifically, it's getting down to the business of funny, introducing the network's Department of Humor Analysis after 2004's look inside the call center
, a campaign from Publicis/N.Y. that won praise and awards. The new campaign's cinema, broadcast and viral videos, directed by Thomas Thomas' Kevin Thomas, show a tour of the department and its research led by John Cleese. "The first nut to crack," says Mother creative director Paul Malmstrom, "was to get around the pressure that the campaign is like saying a joke is funny before you tell it. Our way around that is to say it in a very dry and scientific way. It just got much easier to not over think it too much." The spots note traditional comic conventions such as the pie in the face and the ball to the um, balls. Creative Dave Clark, who worked closely with Rory Hanrahan on the campaign, takes the meta-funny to another level by noting that the research questions such conventions. "They've been funny forever," says Clark. "But should they be?"