The Joke reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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A joke is a short story or short series of words spoken or communicated with the intent of being laughed at or found humorous by the listener or reader. This sort of "joke" is not the same as a practical joke.

Laughter, the intended human reaction to jokes, is healthy, uses the stomach muscles, and releases endorphins, natural happiness-inducing chemicals, into the bloodstream. Daily laughter is recommended to every human being. Jokes have been the subject of serious academic study, a notable example being Sigmund Freud's "Jokes and Their Relationship to the Unconscious".

See also: Internet humor, lightbulb joke, insult, knock knock joke, shaggy dog story, comedy, jester, punch line, world's funniest joke, you have two cows

Table of contents
1 Types of jokes
2 Other Examples of Jokes
3 External links

Types of jokes

Blonde jokes

Blonde jokes are jokes about people, generally women, who have blonde hair and are assumed not to be very smart. These jokes are generally considered to be derogatory, but are usually taken with good humor. They are usually variants on traditional ethnic jokes.


;What is it called when you blow into a blonde's ear?


Sexist jokes

A sexist joke is one that expresses the sexist belief that one gender or sex is somehow superior to the other.


;How do you fix a woman's watch?

You don't. There's a clock on the oven!

;Why does a man have a hole in the end of his penis?
To get oxygen to his brain!

Ethnic jokes

An ethnic joke relies for humorous effect on stereotypes about particular ethnicities, often those from different (neighbour) nations or minorities. For example Finns tell jokes about Swedes and Gypsies. Sometimes they are considered in good taste, meant to poke fun at or about another culture, while other times they are considered offensive or racist. Sometimes the difference between the two judgements is in the nature of the joke itself, and sometimes the difference is in the perception of those hearing it.

In an attempt to preserve the humor of ethnic jokes without their derogatory nature, on rare occasions such jokes are told with the word ethnic or some variant in place of the nationality of the subject. For example: "Two ethnics are out duck hunting. They hunt and hunt and hunt and still have not killed one duck. Finally, ethnic #1 says to ethnic #2: 'Maybe we'd do better if we threw the dog up higher.' " Another twist is letting people of that same target group enjoy a monopoly on telling jokes about themselves.


See also Newfie.

Playing the dozens

Playing the dozens is an African-American pastime in which two competitors -- usually males -- go head to head in a competition of comedic trash talk. They take turns "cracking on," or insulting, one another, their adversary's mother or other family member until one of them has no comeback. The game has its roots in U.S. chattel slavery, when violence among slaves was a property crime with potentially draconian consequences. Verbal sparring became a substitute for physical contention. While the competition on its face is usually light-hearted, smiles sometimes masks real tensions. The dozens can be a harmless pastime, but just as frequently, it is a contest of personal power -- of wit, self-control, verbal ability, mental agility and mental toughness. Defeat can be humiliating; but a skilled contender, win or lose, may gain respect.

"The dozens" refers to the devaluing on the auctionblock of slaves who were past their prime, who were aged or who, after years of back-breaking toil, no longer were capable of hard labor. These enslaved human beings often were sold by the dozen.


Your mama is so fat...

Your mama is so dumb... Your mama is so old... Yo' mama so-o-o-o bald... Your sister is so ugly... Your brother is so stupid...

Political jokes

Political jokes tell about politicians and heads of states.


See also: You have two cows

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Although perhaps the most famous of all jokes in the English language, this joke is a meta-joke, in that its humor value comes from the fact that it is expected to be funny. Additionally, it is rarely told on its own, but it is referenced, modified, or parodied in a number of other jokes.

Question - answer

Often posed as a common riddle, the answer is twisted humorously.

Q: What is black and white and read all over?

A1: A newspaper. (The common riddle answer.)

A2: A bleeding xxx. (xxx can be a penquin, nun, any likely wearer of a tuxedo, etc.)

(See knock-knock joke, grape joke and elsewhere here for other types of this kind.)

Elephant jokes

Usually a riddle of the form "Why did the elephant...?", where the answer is ridiculously impossible, yet trivially valid.


Profession-targeted jokes

These target the perceived flaws of people in certain trades. Lawyer jokes are traditionally popular in the United States.

Italians trade jokes about the Carabinieri national police force, and this fact is rather good-humouredly acknowledged even in the force's own website, probably because the Carabinieri know that, jokes aside, they do enjoy a high degree of respect. Carabinieri are factually known to be occasionally willing to tell a few such jokes themselves. It is also known that they have a small office in Rome devoted to tracking, developing and collecting jokes (but this is a joke).


Shaggy dog stories

A shaggy dog story is an extremely long and involved joke with a weak or completely nonexistent punchline. The humor lies in building up the audience's anticipation and then letting them down completely.

Shaggy jokes appear to date from the 1930s, although there are several competing variants for the "original" shaggy dog story. According to one, an advertisement is placed in a newspaper, searching for the shaggiest dog in the world. The teller of the joke then relates the story of the search for the shaggiest dog in extreme and exaggerated detail (flying around the world, climbing mountains, fending off sabre-toothed tigers, etc); a good teller will be able to stretch the story out to over half an hour. When the winning dog is finally presented, the advertiser takes a look at the dog and states: "I don't think he's so shaggy".

Dead baby jokes

A subgenre of jokes derives their humor simply from violating taboos and being so blatantly offensive in their subject matter that (for some) the situation becomes funny, not macabre. A staple of these jokes and the source of the name is dead babies, a subject which would usually be considered the opposite of "funny." A fair number of the jokes are derivations of each other, told in sequence for maximum effect.


You have two cows

A large number of jokes, beginning "You have two cows...", describe what would be done with the cows under a certain political or economic system. The jokes satirize many countries, television shows, religions, and systems, especially bureaucracy, communism, and capitalism.


Other Examples of Jokes

External links