From stand-up comedy to political cartoons, humor plays a critical role in culture. 

Now the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design will break down how comedy affects the creative process when its 2015-16 Visiting Artist, Scholar and Designer Program kicks off Tuesday night.

“Humor has this ability to take risks and bring up taboo subjects like politics, sex, race and gender in a way that cuts to a truth and is also disarming,” Gretchen Marie Schaefer, who directs the monthly lecture series, says. “I think art and design has something to learn from that because it’s a tricky place to be working in.”

The first event features a discussion between Peter McGraw, co-author of "The Humor Code" and founder of the University of Colorado Boulder's Humor Research Lab, and Brooklyn-based Chelsey Delaney, who regularly writes and speaks about the intersection of humor and design. The lecture -- free and open to the public -- takes place at RMCAD's Mary Harris Auditorium at 7 p.m.

To hear more about McGraw's humor research, listen to his 2014 Colorado Matters interview.