A Scientific Look at the Three Stooges

When I added the DVD collection of the entire library of Three Stooges short movies, I merely intended to add the hilarity of the stooges to my extensive media collection. After Cassie purchased all of the collections for my birthday, as they sat in my queue waiting to be watched, I thought to myself, “you know, people always say Curly is the better stooge, why don’t I try to quantify this for my tastes?” So, as I watched each 15-20 minute short film, I rated each one on a zero to five scale, where five is greatness an zero is shit (everything was decided to the nearest 0.5/unit).

Well, I have finished watching all 190 episodes. And here’s how the statistics stack up. First, a histogram:

The results follow a fairly normal (slightly skewed) Gaussian distribution. The Average rating overall was 2.7; the median and mode were 2.5, and the ratings ranged all the way from 0 to 5 out of 5. I have also tallied all of the episodes either rated 4.5 or 5 to give an unofficial “Top 11” episodes. They are as follows [chronological # of short film, title, (third stooge)] :

  • 2 Punch Drunks  (Curly)
  • 15 Disorder in the Court  (Curly)
  • 101 Brideless Groom  (Shemp)
  • 102 Sing a Song of Six Pants  (Shemp)
  • 150 Rip, Sew and Stitch  (Shemp)
  • 3 Men in Black  (Curly)
  • 8 Uncivil Warriors  (Curly)
  • 11 Three Little Beers  (Curly)
  • 31 Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb  (Curly)
  • 46 A Plumbing We Will Go  (Curly)
  • 74 Dizzy Pilots  (Curly)

Notice that eight of the top eleven spots for me were Curly films. That is the first indication that Curly is the better stooge.

I’ve further broken this down per third stooge, and the results are rather interesting. Look for a future post or possibly multiple posts explaining the results for each third stooge, Curly, Shemp, or Joe Besser.


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