Our Mission

IFCI was founded in 2014 to advance the study of humor and laughter. Our goal is to understand how humor works and uncover ways to effectively use it to connect people with each other and point out absurdities.

We create public experiments in the form of interactive objects, performances, workshops, and exhibitions.

We believe humor breaks down barriers and brings people together; is a useful tool for changing thought and behavior; can spotlight corruption and help to correct social, economic, and political misalignments; and is under applied so comedy skills should be made available to all.


Laura Allcorn, Founder + Lead Researcher

Laura is a creative director, humorist, and researcher. She founded the Institute For Comedic Inquiry (IFCI), a comedian-led research group. At IFCI, she creates interactive objects and performances that point out absurdities through a technique she calls ‘Participatory Satire’. Her work focuses on how humor connects people to each other and new ideas–especially the ones that challenge narrow assumptions. She has studied all forms of comedy including satire writing, improvisation, sketch, and stand-up comedy with Second City, Curious Comedy, Brody Theater, and ComedySportz. Laura earned an MFA in Applied Craft and Design at Pacific Northwest College of Art where she focused on speculative design. In 2017 she completed Center For Artistic Activism’s Art Action Academy at the Queens Museum.

Her work with IFCI has been shown around the world at Science Gallery in Dublin; CCCB in Barcelona; ArtScience Museum in Singapore; Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome; Design Week Portland, Risk/Reward’s Pavement Festival in Portland; Bridgetown Comedy Festival; Portland Fashion Week; and featured in Wired UK, The Guardian, GOOD, Dwell, and Design Bureau Magazine. 

Laura also has over 10 years of experience designing award-winning interactive experiences and exhibitions for museums and brands. Most recently she was an Associate Creative Director at Second Story Interactive Studios where she worked with California State Parks, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Thomas Cole Historic Site, New York Public Library, Harvard Business School, Target, Nokia, and others.


We collaborate with humorists, scientists, researchers, technologists, designers, and performers.

Thomas Wester, collaborator on syntHAsizer and ISLIKE

Greg Bryant, collaborator on syntHAsizer

Traci Sym, collaborator and performer in Insecurities Security Screening and Pantsuit Power Walk For Hilary

Katie Shook, performer in Insecurities Security Screening and The Reactionizer

Rebecca Gates, collaborator on The Reactionizer

Sorob Louie, collaborator on Portland Laugh Line