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BS: What is a joke?

Mrrzy 03 Oct 17 - 08:23 AM
Donuel 03 Oct 17 - 08:40 AM
Mr Red 03 Oct 17 - 11:55 AM
Donuel 03 Oct 17 - 08:19 PM
Joe_F 03 Oct 17 - 08:38 PM
Mr Red 04 Oct 17 - 04:16 AM
Stanron 04 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 04 Oct 17 - 07:59 AM
Steve Shaw 04 Oct 17 - 10:01 AM
Mrrzy 06 Oct 17 - 03:45 PM
Donuel 06 Oct 17 - 03:57 PM
Mr Red 06 Oct 17 - 05:09 PM
Mrrzy 07 Oct 17 - 11:31 AM
Donuel 07 Oct 17 - 01:57 PM
Mrrzy 07 Oct 17 - 10:32 PM
Donuel 10 Oct 17 - 07:47 AM
Mr Red 10 Oct 17 - 05:18 PM
Steve Shaw 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM
Donuel 10 Oct 17 - 09:49 PM
Mrrzy 11 Oct 17 - 01:56 AM
Mr Red 11 Oct 17 - 03:01 AM
Steve Shaw 11 Oct 17 - 08:42 AM
Donuel 11 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM
Mr Red 11 Oct 17 - 01:19 PM
Donuel 11 Oct 17 - 01:52 PM
Donuel 11 Oct 17 - 02:01 PM
Mrrzy 11 Oct 17 - 02:08 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Oct 17 - 02:30 PM
EBarnacle 11 Oct 17 - 10:26 PM
Mr Red 12 Oct 17 - 03:54 AM
Mr Red 12 Oct 17 - 04:52 AM
Steve Shaw 12 Oct 17 - 06:07 AM
Donuel 12 Oct 17 - 09:24 AM
Mr Red 12 Oct 17 - 10:50 AM
Donuel 12 Oct 17 - 12:44 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Oct 17 - 01:46 PM
Mr Red 13 Oct 17 - 03:21 AM
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Subject: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 08:23 AM

Can we please move all that stuff here and leave the joke thread for actually telling jokes?

Yes, "what did the leper say to the whore? Keep the tip!" is a joke. There are a lot of leper jokes about body parts falling off. Others include Why did they stop the hockey game at the leper colony? There was a face off in the corner!, and What happened when the leper ran into the screen door? He strained himself!.

No, tee rump is not a joke, except metaphorically. And right now there is little that is funny about what is going on in America, writ large, including our "territory" that mighta shoulda been a state.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 08:40 AM

This question was particularly tough to explain to my autistic son.
A joke is a subset of humour which is a way of telling an uncomfortable truth or mistake that results in internal or external laughter. Cartoons are visual subsets of humour.

Thinking primarily like a cartoonist I will leave your joke thread unsullied. Fair enough?


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 11:55 AM

well hierarchically speaking:
1) a joke is told. Humour can be situational and non-intentional, or it can be told.
2) something that makes people laugh. As discussed elsewhere if they don't laugh - they don't consider it a joke - that's their problem.
3) There has to be a dichotomy in the listeners mind. Ambiguity, surprise, realisation after obfuscation. If you have heard it before it often is not nearly as funny. If the delivery gives away the surprise it is usually considered weak.
3) then you can start to subdivide the forms of humour. Situational, pun/paronomasia, shaggy dog, irony and probably more if you cut the cake thinner. I have heard Ken Dodd (who is fanatical about studying the nature of humour) cites 5 or was it 7 types of joke?

Roman joke
Ant walks up an elephants leg, and says "I hope you don't mind me walking up your leg?" The elephant says "I didn't notice you arrive, I shall not notice you leave". Now I would give that 90% irony, 10% situational.

Another Roman joke
"Man walks into a barber's and the barber says "How would you like your hair cut --- Sir?" "In silence" came the reply. Situational? hard to categorise.

young female at a Whitehouse dinner to Calvin Coolidge (famed for being a man of few words) "I have a bet on that I can get you to say more than 3 words" - "You lose" say he! Situational? Snopes on that

Having said that - I will always fall about laughing at Gerrard Hoffnung's Debate at the Oxford Union - lets call it "the Pile of Bricks", he may have called it something else which would give away the punchline (the final one that is). No matter how many times I have heard it, there is something in his delivery that he even pauses for us to predict the next event and we still laugh
It is - just - well - IT'S FUNNY!


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 08:19 PM

`I like the stuff that has to be written backwards so the final scene is plausible no matter how outrageous. This is how Larry David does incredibly funny shows like Seinfeld and Curb your enthusiasm.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 08:38 PM

Following Freud & Fowler, I would say that a proper joke has 3 components: malice, humor, & wit. Evidently, Fowler has a narrower definition of humor than is common. He says:
Motive or Aim: Discovery. Province: Human nature. Method or Means: Observation. Audience: The sympathetic.
And for wit:
Motive or aim: Throwing light. Province: Words & ideas. Method or means: Surprise. Audience: The intelligent.

Leper & whore: Malice: making light of suffering. Humor: none. Wit: pun on "tip". So also with the other leper "jokes", except that "strained" is a better pun.

Ant & elephant: Malice: disdain & rudeness. Humor: people can exaggerate their own importance, even when trying to be polite. Wit: matching clauses.

Barber: Malice: rudeness. Humor: barbers often take advantage of their captive audience. Wit: surprising reinterpretation of "how".

Coolidge: Malice: none. Humor; none. Wit: reply exemplifies its own truth.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 04:16 AM

analysing backwards does show how the elements get put in place (or can be better chosen/placed).

But being picky, which is IMNSHO the purpose of the OP, Seinfeld is an example of an assemblage of jokes. And that points to the essence of context. A given joke depends on what came before, and also what follows. And factors that can sometimes be predicted - like the make-up of the audience, which may be one person.

American humour has facets that UK audiences find less appealing, it is cultural and even in the UK we have expressions like Northern Humour. My take on it is that America is multilingual, UK has dialects and a lot of humour needs implied understanding - euphemisms, homonyms, homophones, malapropisms etc. Jokes don't always translate.

And I would bet - if we knew some of the back story, the Roman ant joke might be even funnier. Emporor's or government nickname for instance (wild guess).

Anglo-Saxon joke
What is the cleanest leaf? Holly.
Implied knowledge (obvious once it is pointed out) - when was toilet paper invented?


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Stanron
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 06:38 AM

I discovered a formula to make an audience laugh. It is possibly too simple to be useful but here it is. The apparency is, present your audience with a bit of reality and then change it, turn it round. The reality is you notice something that will be real to the audience. Then you imagine a way to turn that round, perhaps into some form of opposite, and present that to the audience. Then turn it back into what you noticed in the first place. It is possibly to do with getting the individuals to hold two opposing ideas in their minds at the same time. It is reinforced if it has direct relevance to the audiences experience.

A joke is a formalised, prepackaged version of the above. It will have the two opposing realities but not always the direct relevance to the audiences experience.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 07:59 AM

Isaac Asimov's short story Jokester is worth reading. The premis is an investigation of why we have humour and why Puns are greeted with groans instead of the laughter caused by jokes.
His conclusion (plot spoiler alert) Jokes are being imposed on humans by a higher intelligence in the same way that we impose mazes on rats!

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Oct 17 - 10:01 AM

I'd have said stinging nettle myself.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 03:45 PM

Aw man, where is my long, thoughtful post? Lessee if I can restructure it.

Coolidge - yes, malice.

Who says leper and whore has no humor? Poor definition of humor, I say.

Also, technically, Q and A funnies are riddles, not jokes. Jokes are stories with a punch line.

And what about one-liners?


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 03:57 PM

Henny Youngman


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Oct 17 - 05:09 PM

Take my wife - please.

All in the delivery. Some humour doesn't translate well onto the page, punctuation doesn't fully deliver. Some humour benefits from being textual, as opposed to verbal. And usually you find out which works after it has been delivered. & That is because you hear it in your head, and not via the chosen medium.

Then there is visual humour. Cartoons that need no text are the funniest IMNSHO.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Oct 17 - 11:31 AM

Are you familiar with a comic strip called Lio, with a horizontal line on the I instead of a dot? It rarely contains words.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Oct 17 - 01:57 PM

cartoons seem to be more creative and varied than jokes.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Oct 17 - 10:32 PM

I steal captions all the time and pretend they are one-liners, or jokes, or riddles.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:47 AM

Heat hurts everything
Even Halloween is hotter
kids in costumes
scream for water

no more Frankensteins
no more Mummies
now its swim suits
and T shirt zombies


not a joke - true story


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:18 PM

this Russian joke illustrates how context and culture affect the tenor of humour. Think back to the late 80's.

a man joins a queue at his local supermarket. Hours later he has not moved. Next day he is getting nowhere and restless. A week passes, then after a month's queuing he declares to the line of waiting shoppers he is so fed up he is going off to shoot Gorbechev amid shouts of encouragement.
An hour later he returns. The people are abuzz asking how it went, did Gorbechev get just desserts? Nyet - the queue to shoot Gorbechev is longer than here!


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM

But is that funny in any culture, dammitall? I don't want a sly, cynical, semi-amusing political aside when I'm expecting a joke. Sorry to be so simplistic, but I want a belly laugh if you don't mind. Fer chrissake, life's a vale of tears. I met an old mate of mine in Sainsbury's in Bude this afternoon. He's waiting for two knee replacement ops (we are of that age, you know). I had him almost rolling on the floor laughing when I told him that old one, doctor to patient in hospital saying to the chap that he'd come with good news and bad news. What's the good news, says the man? Well we only had to amputate half your leg, not all of it, says the doc. Oh thank God, says yer man. So what's the bad news, doc? Well, says the doc, we had to amputate the top half....


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 09:49 PM

Sorry about yer veil of tears Steve, I'm sure I speak for no one to say I live to give you what you expect and want.
Good news:you are getting what you expect and want.
bad news : same as above.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 01:56 AM

I like the bread line joke. And it's a joke, as is the good/bad news one, of which I know a variant I think I told on one of the jokes threads.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 03:01 AM

I don't want a sly, cynical, semi-amusing political aside when I'm expecting a joke.

This is a discussion on what is a joke. Not what do you like in your humour. By illustrating other cultures' jokes we see how context related humour is, full of implied knowledge. If we empathise with the subject of the joke without agreeing the sentiment it can be funny. If we don't like the joke it may very well be that we lack empathy. And do we see that elsewhere in this parish? Are you a me, or a we? Answers on a postcard please.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 08:42 AM

Look in any dictionary. A joke is something intended to make you laugh. There's a bottom line here that has nothing to do with what culture you come from. Your Russian joke is pretty unfunny and it's a good bet that people in Russia would see it as a piece of smirkworthy cynicism rather than something worthy of a good belly laugh. Whether you laugh may be a matter of taste: you may rail at a racist or sexist joke rather than laugh at it, arguing that it isn't jokeworthy at all. But don't confuse taste with culture. The other use of the noun "joke" is as a characterisation of something risible, a laughing stock, something to be scorned or ridiculed.

An elephant meets a camel. He says, Why do you lot have tits on your back? Camel replies, That's a funny question coming from someone who has a dick on his face!


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM

Quips often inhabit territory inhabited by jokes
This year's Super Hyper Bowl promises to be a mass firing attack.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 01:19 PM

A joke is something intended to make you laugh.

People, not you.

Look at an audience any time and see how many laugh. 100%? maybe if they have paid enough to see an expert, and the joke is rather well crafted with appropriate preceding and following verbiage. Otherwise less than. Some people are hard to please, and some are not always listening and some laugh when the joke is explained to them.

It's a jungle out there.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 01:52 PM

Stand up comedy
a tv series about joke tellers


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 02:01 PM

I've interviewed some stand up comics of no fame. Its a rough trade.
I know I couldn't do it. Its an honorable endeavor.
If Steve has enjoyed some success in this art/craft -More Power To Him


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 02:08 PM

I accidentally cracked up my therapist the other day, we were talking about doing acid as I had just done a bunch and had a ton of fun, and me mentioned his experiences in college, including drops on a sugar cube. I said the only thing I'd had on a sugar cube was a polio vaccine, and he really laughed. Then I remembered, he had polio. It wasn't on purpose, but I think it was a joke.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 02:30 PM

Just stop over-analysing, Mr Red. Tell us some jokes instead.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 10:26 PM

Truly, a joke almost always has an element of pain. If the hearer cannot relate to it it does not work for him.

My personal classic of this sort is the whaling captain and his frustrated mate. Ask for it and I'll tell it.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 03:54 AM

Just stop over-analysing, Mr Red. Tell us some jokes instead.

on a thread entitled What is a joke? - he asks? Oiy Vey!

Have you analysed the one about .....................


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 04:52 AM

OK Steve - translate: 4 🦊 🤕


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 06:07 AM

That?s ?clever? and witty but it didn?t make me laugh. Just smirk. Not a joke. This IS a joke:   My wife rang me just now and said I think there?s water in the carburettor. I said where?s the car? She said in the river...

The best way to answer the question ?What is a joke?? Is to spend less time getting all psycho-cultural about it (enough of that is as good as a feast) and more time peppering the thread with examples. You haven?t done that yet, and how many posts are we up to?


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 09:24 AM

Besides the fake media helping elect a moron I am really pissed how the weaponized fake facebook and google ads have effectively killed the sarcastic satire genre of humour.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 10:50 AM

where?s the car? didn't make me laugh or smile. No surprise. Heard it first from Des O'Connor, so many years ago I can't remember. So does that make it not a joke?

peppering the thread with examples.
I know it would be egotistical to consider my posts so worthy that everyone should hang on my every word, but on balance I think I peppered. The thread is What is a joke? not is this a joke? and I don't see any hint (outside the reader's interpretation) of a Do you find this funny?.

Still, all in all, it is nice to be called a wit rather than a joker. Not all my humour is banana skin.
OK interpret this bit wit (hint GBS said perpendicular ( hint italics was also a visual pun)). And it took a lady to point out the juxtaposition or the ex and the s - pun not intended but woooeeee - I'll take it (and it). And yes it is one of mine.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 12:44 PM

Mr. Red,
Then-
passport clerk;
"Are you Russian or are you Polish?"
That's between Mr. Hitler and Joe.

Now-
Are you American or Puerto Rican?
That's up to Mr. Trump.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 01:46 PM

I thought it was Tommy Cooper. And I think I might have used it three or four times on this forum.


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Subject: RE: BS: What is a joke?
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Oct 17 - 03:21 AM

GBS said perpendicular, Robert Frost misquoted him with vertical. Not sure if Tommy Cooper relates to my picture. Russian jokes were not normally his style. As with jokes, sometime you have to telegraph certain elements to let the audience connect. Was the image seen?


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