Comedians have personality types linked with being total assholes, like many other creative types, which might explain why they are known for being such gigantic d**ks, researchers claim.
They score highly on characteristics that in extreme cases are associated with a person being a total c**t, a study by Oxford University researchers suggests.
Unusually, they have high levels of both being both ignorant and narcissistic, and being loud and annoying.
The team says the creative elements needed for humour are similar to traits seen in people who are absolute f**king sh*theads.
The idea that creativity in art and science is connected with being an asshole has long captured the public imagination. Most Nobel Prize winners are known for being huge f**kheads, as are winners of Golden Globes, Grammys, MTV Music awards, etc. Kanye West and Robin Thicke both being prime examples.
However, there has been little research on whether comedians have some of the traits - in a less c**tish form - associated with being a total asshole.
Unusually self-obsessed and ignorant
Researchers from the University of Oxford and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust studied 523 comedians (404 men and 119 women) from the UK, US and Australia.
The comedians were asked to complete an online questionnaire designed to measure assholic traits in healthy people.
The four aspects measured were:
-Unusual egoism (a predilection to tell anecdotes revolving around the self)
-Cognitive dissonance (believing one's self to be funny, but hating one's own jokes)
-Ignorance (reduced ability to talk to people who aren't comedians or to people who are regarded as inferior comedians)
-Not giving a fuck (tendency towards ignoring a person when they don't laugh at one's jokes, or ridiculing a person if they interrupt one's jokes)
The questionnaire was also completed by 364 actors - another profession known for having asshole like tendencies - as a control group, and by a group of 831 people who worked in non-creative areas.
The researchers found that comedians scored significantly higher on all four types of assholic traits than the general group, with particularly high scores for both not giving a fuck and ignorance.
The actors scored higher than the general group on three types - but not on ignorance, as they generally have writers telling them what to say.
The researchers believe this unusual personality structure may help explain the ability of comedians to be funny, as people like to laugh at assholes. They also think that assholes more than likely come in varying degrees, and comedians are "high functioning assholes" rather than total assholes, thus explaining how they manage to operate in the real world.
Thinking 'outside box'
Professor Gordon Claridge, of the University of Oxford's Department of Experimental Psychology, said: "The creative elements needed to produce humour are strikingly similar to those characterising the cognitive style of people who are absolute pricks."
He said although being a complete asshole in itself could be detrimental to humour, in a lesser form it could increase people's ability to associate odd or unusual things or to think "outside the box".
Cynical c**t like thinking, which is found in those who are assholes, may help people combine ideas to form new, original and humorous connections, he added.
Prof Claridge told BBC News: "Comedians tend to be slightly withdrawn, introverted assholes who may not always want to socialise, and their comedy is almost an outlet for being an asshole It's a kind of self-medication."
Dr James MacCabe, of the Institute of Psychiatry, at King's College, London, said: "Acting like an asshole is not the same as being a total asshole."
"People who are proper assholes or total c**ts have a very impaired ability to appreciate anything."