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We thought this would be a straightforward answer, but after a bit of digging, we think we may have found a wrinkle in the timeline. The short answer is: at least 73 years ago, but possibly 74. Humorology — or “Humo,” colloquially — is an annual variety show meets fundraising initiative meets competition, which is entirely written, produced, acted, and managed by members of the UW’s Greek communities. In fact, it’s Wisconsin’s biggest student-led nonprofit. Each year, teams of students create and produce short musicals, which they perform in competition with each other for a spot in the final showcase. Here come the weeds on the first Humorology: according to its website, the first show was in 1948. But some archival evidence suggests otherwise: a 1957 newspaper clipping says the show began in 1947. The clipping also says that, for the first 10 years, the show raised money for the Madison Capital Times Kiddie Camp, which was a “rest home for children with rheumatic fever.” In 1957, they raised money for international student scholarships. A key aspect of Humo is philanthropy, so in addition to competing on their talents, teams also compete for who can raise the most money. And they’ve gotten pretty good at it — in 2019, Humo raised $405,000 for the Badger Childhood Cancer Network. In 2020, even though the show was canceled due to COVID-19, the group still raised and donated $341,000 to Blessings in a Backpack.

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