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Jokes

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One of Don Nilsen's many presentations. See http://www.public.asu.edu/~dnilsen/

One of Don Nilsen's many presentations. See http://www.public.asu.edu/~dnilsen/


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  • 1. JOKES SEE ALSO “AMBIGUITY” AND “LANGUAGE PLAY” by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen
  • 2. Joking Relationships
    • Joking relationships occur “between two persons in which one is by custom permitted and in some instances required to tease or make fun of the other.”
    • (Kuipers 364)
    • (Radcliffe-Brown 195)
  • 3. EXAGGERATION & SURPRISE
    • Exaggeration and surprise are features that can be found in most jokes.
    • Bill Dana demonstrates that the same joke can be told with only the details and local color changing, and the rest of the joke remaining the same.
  • 4. FIRST TELLING
    • A large group is assembled in an auditorium when from the loudspeaker comes the message:
    • “ Will the person with New York license plate BL 74468459030623145098725, kindly remove it? Your license plate is blocking traffic.
  • 5. SECOND TELLING
    • Two cowboys are talking and the first one explains that the name of his ranch is the “Bar Nine Circle Z Rocking O Flying W Lazy R Happy Two Flying Nun Ranch.”
    • A second cowboy asks if he has many cattle, and the first cowboy responds, “Not many survive the branding.”
  • 6. THIRD TELLING
    • Two football players are talking and one of them begins describing a heroic run he made during the final game of the season.
    • Nobody on the opposing team could tackle him.
  • 7.
    • Finally, “they brought a cannon out onto the field, and they shot me with the cannon,
    • and then airplanes came down with machine guns. They still couldn’t stop me. And I finally made a touchdown.
    • The other player indignantly interjects that “Anybody who was in the stadium could prove that was a lie.”
    • The first player responded, “There were no survivors.”
    • (Nilsen & Nilsen 118)
  • 8. JOKE CYCLES
    • Very often jokes occur in joke cycles. Consider the following joke cycles.
  • 9. ACRONYM JOKES
    • These jokes are often found on vanity license plates or bumper stickers:
    • 10SNE1 (tennis anyone?)
    • XQUSME (excuse me)
    • 4RGRAN (for our grandchild)
    • BS, MS, PhD (Bull Shit, More of the Same, Piled Higher and Deeper)
    • (Nilsen & Nilsen 175)
  • 10. LIGHTBULB JOKES
    • How many New Yorkers?
    • 3: One to do it and two to criticize.
    • How many grad students?
    • 3: 2 plus a professor to take the credit
    • How many Jewish mothers?
    • None: I’ll just sit in the dark.
  • 11.
    • How many Los Angeles Police?
    • 6: one to do it and five to smash the old bulb to smithereens.
    • How many mice does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    • 2: but they have to be really small.
    • How many Dolly clones?
    • As many as you’d like. As many as you’d like. As many as you’d like.
    • (Nilsen & Nilsen 176)
  • 12. LIGHT BULB JOKE VARIATION:
    • What’s the difference between a pregnant woman and a light bulb?
    • You can unscrew the light bulb.
    • (Nilsen & Nilsen 176)
  • 13. NEW DEFINITIONS
    • Artery : The study of painting
    • Bacteria : The back door of a cafeteria
    • Barium : What doctors do when patients die.
    • Nilsen & Nilsen 177)
  • 14. SNIGLETS
    • Rich Hall invented the term “sniglet” for a word that should be in the dictionary, but isn’t.
    • Elbonics (el bon’ iks) n. The actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater.
  • 15.
    • Esso Asso (eso a’so): The person behind you in a right-hand turn lane who cuts through the Esso Station.
    • Pupkus (pup’kus) n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.
    • Phonesia (fo nee’ zhuh) n. The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.
  • 16. TOM SWIFTIES
    • People who used to read the Tom Swift novels invented a new type of joke:
    • “ My name is Tom, he said Swiftly.”
    • This pattern is extended to:
    • “ I’d like my egg boiled,” she whispered softly.”
  • 17.
    • “ Get to the back of the boat!” he shouted sternly.
    • “ Would you like another pancake?” she asked flippantly.
    • “ She works in the mines,” he roared ironically.
    • (Nilsen & Nilsen 176)
  • 18. TOP TEN LIST
    • In 1993 when David Letterman left NBC to move to a better time slot at CBS, he made a list of his “Top 10 Things I Have To Do Before I Leave NBC.” Here are some of the items on that list:
    • Drop off hairpiece at security desk.
    • Vacuum out Wendell (his announcer) and write down his mileage.
  • 19.
    • Steal my weight in office supplies.
    • Let my plastic surgeon step out and take a bow—this has been his show as much as mine.
    • Get one more cheap laugh by saying the word Buttafuoco .
    • (Nilsen & Nilsen 176)
  • 20. VIRUS JOKES
    • AT&T Virus: Every three minutes it tells you what great service you are getting.
    • MCI Virus: Every three minutes it reminds you that you’re paying too much for the AT&T virus.
  • 21.
    • Paul Revere Virus: This revolutionary virus does not horse around. It warns you of impending hard disk attack—once if by LAN, twice if by C:>.
    • New World Order Virus: Probably harmless, but it makes a lot of people really mad just thinking about it.
    • (Nilsen & Nilsen 177)
  • 22. !EPIPHANY
    • What all jokes seem to have is an epiphany. So here is a joke that illustrates the nature of epiphany:
    • A man has been a customer in a particular restaurant for twenty years. He sits down to his regular dinner and immediately calls the waiter over to his table and demands that he “taste the soup.”
  • 23.
    • !!
    • The waiter is most apologetic and says, “I’m sorry sir. What’s wrong? Here, let me get you another bowl.”
    • “ Taste the soup!” demands the irritated customer.
  • 24.
    • !!!
    • Again the waiter apologizes and leans forward to whisk away the offending bowl.
    • “ No!” demands the customer, who by now is irate: “Taste the soup.”
    • The humbled waiter leans over to obey and asks in surprise, “Where’s the spoon?”
    • “ Ah ha!” cries the customer.
    • (Nilsen & Nilsen 292)
  • 25. JOKE WEB SITES:
    • BUSH ON GLOBAL WARMING (BILL FERRELL TAKEOFF):
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOjfxEejS2Y&feature=related
    • BUSH ON GLOBAL WARMING (KID TAKEOFF):
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWdiHtv6T6s
    • HUMAN SLINKY (HALFTIME AT CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY):
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw8mj_TuDTI
    • KETCHUP:
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQQD9bPrUPU
    • TENNIS-BALL PIANO PLAYER:
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07brW206D84
  • 26.
    • References:
    • Asimov, Isaac. Asimov Laughs Again: More Than 700 Jokes, Limericks, and Anecdotes . New York, NY: Harper Books, 1993.
    • Asimov, Isaac. Isaac Asimov’s Treasure of Humor: A Lifetime Collection of Favorite Jokes, Anecdotes, and Limericks with Copious Notes on How to Tell Them and Why . New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1971.
    • Asimov, Isaac. “Jokester.” in Robot Dreams . London, England: Gollancz, 1956, 278-294.
    • Attardo, Salvatore, and Jean-Charles Chabanne. “Jokes as a Text Type.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 5.5 (1992):P 165-176.
    • Attardo, Salvatore, and Victor Raskin. “Script Theory Revis(it)ed: Joke Similarity and Joke Representation Model.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 4.3-4 (1991): 293-341.
    • Benton, Gregor. “The Origins of the Political Joke.” in Powell and Paton (1988): 33-55.
  • 27.
    • Berger, Arthur Asa. “Anatomy of the Joke.” Journal of Communication 26 (1976): 113-115.
    • Boskin, Joseph, ed. The Humor Prism in 20 th Century America . Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1997.
    • Bradney, Pamela. “The Joking Relationship in Industry.” Human Relations 9.2 (1957): 179-187.
    • Chiaro, Delia. The Language of Jokes: Analysing Verbal Play . New York, NY: Routledge, 1992.
    • Davies, Catherine Evans. “Joking as Boundary Negotiation among ‘Good Old Boys’: ‘White Trash’ as a Social Category at the Bottom of the Southern Working Class in Alabama.” HUMOR: Internaitonal Journal of Humor Research 23.2 (2010): 179-200.
    • Davies, Christie. “American Jokes about Lawyers.” HUMOR 21.4 (2008): 369-386.
  • 28.
    • Davies, Christie. “Ethnic Jokes, Moral Values, and Social Boundaries.” British Journal of Sociology 33.3 (1982): 383-403.
    • Davies, Christie. “Humour and Protest: Jokes under Communism.” International Review of Social History 52 (2007): 291-305.
    • Davies, Christie. Jokes and their Relations to Society . New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter, 1998.
    • Derks, Peter, Steve Kalland, and Mike Etgen. “The Effect of Joke Type and Audience Response on the Reaction to a Joker: Replication and Extension.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 8.4 (1995): 327-338.
    • Douglas, Mary. “Jokes.” in Implicit Meanings: Essays in Anthropology . Ed. Mary Douglas, London, England: Routledge, 1975, 90-114.
    • Douglas, Mary. “The Social Control of Cognition: Some Factors in Joke Perception.” Man, New Series 3.3 (1968): 361-376.
  • 29.
    • Dundes, Alan. “Auschwitz Jokes.” Western Folklore 42.4 (1983): 249-260.
    • Dundes, Alan. Cracking Jokes: Studies of Sick Humor Cycles and Stereotypes . Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1987.
    • Feldman, Gilda, and Phil Feldman. Acronym Soup: A Stirring Guide to Our Newest Word Form . New York, NY: William Morrow, 1994.
    • Freud, Sigmund. Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious . New York, NY: Penguin Group, 1905.
    • Galanter, Marc. “The Great American Lawyer Joke Explosion.” HUMOR 21.4 (2008): 387-414.
    • Galanter, Marc. Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture . Madison, WI: University of Wisconsiln Press, 2004.
    • Groch, A. “Joking and Appreciation of Humor in Nursery School Children.” Child Development 45.4 (1974): 1098-1102.
  • 30.
    • Gundelach, Peter. “Joking Relationships and National Identity in Scandinavia.” Acta Sociologica 43.2 (2000): 113-122.
    • Hall, Jeffrey A., and Ken Sereno. “Offensive Jokes: How Do They Impact Long-Term Relationships?” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 23.3 (2010): 351-374.
    • Hall, Rich. Sniglets (Snig’lit)—Any Word That Doesn’t Appear in the Dictionary, but Should . New York, NY: Collier Books, 1984.
    • Hart, Marjolein, and Dennis Bos, eds. Humour and Social Protest . Special issue of International Review of Social History 52, Supplement S15 (2007).
    • Herzog, Thomas R., Anne C. Harris, Laura S. Knoposcott, and Katherine L. Fuller. “Joke Cruelty and Appreciation Reviseted.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 19.2 (2006): 139-156.
    • Kuipers, Giselinde. “The Difference between a Surinamese and a Turk: Ethnic Jokes and the Position of Ethnic Minorities in the Netherlands.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 12.2 (2000): 141-175.
    • Kuipers, Giselinde. “The Sociology of Humor.” in Raskin (2008): 361-398.
  • 31.
    • Kuipers, Giselinde. “Where was King Kong when We Needed Him? Public Discourse, Digital Disaster Jokes, and the Functions of Laughter after 9/11.” Journal of American Culture 28.1 (2005): 70-84.
    • Lockyer, Sharon, and Michael Pickering. Beyond the Joke: The Limits of Humour . Basingstoke, England: Palgrave, 2005.
    • Martin, Rod A. The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach . London, England: Elsevier, 2007.
    • Morrow, P. D. “Those Sick Challenger Jokes.” Journal of Popular Culture 20.4 (1987): 175-184.
    • Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20 th Century American Humor . Westport, Ct: Greenwood, 2000.
    • Norrick, Neal R. Conversational Joking: Humor in Everyday Talk . Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993.
  • 32.
    • Norrick, Neal R. “Laughter before the Punch Line During the Performance of Narrative Jokes in Conversation.” Text and Talk 30.1 (2010): 75-95.
    • Norrick, Neal R. “Non-verbal Humor and Joke Performance.” HUMOR 7.4 (2004): 401-409.
    • Norrick, Neal R. “On the Conversational Performance of Narrative Jokes: Towards an Account of Timing.” HUMOR . 14.3 (2001): 255-274.
    • Oring, Elliott. “Between Jokes and Tales: On the Nature of Punch Lines.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 2.4 (1989): 349-364.
    • Oring, Elliott. The Jokes of Sigmund Freud: A Study in Humor and Jewish Identity, 3 rd Edition . Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, 2007.
    • Oring, Elliott. “Jokes and the Discourse on Disaster: The Challenger Shuttle Explosion and Its Joke Cycle.” Journal of American Folklore 100 (1987): 276-286.
    • Oring, Elliott. Jokes and Their Relations . Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, 1992.
  • 33.
    • Oring, Elliott. “Parsing the Joke: The General Theory of Verbal Humor and Appropriate Incongruity.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research forthcoming.
    • Oshima, Kimie. “Ethnic Jokes and Social Function in Hawai’i.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research . 13.1 (2000): 41-57.
    • Pfordresher, John. “An Approach to Analyzing Jokes.” The English Journal 70.6 (1981): 50-54.
    • Plester, Barbara, and Mark Orams. “Send in the Clowns: The Role of the Joker in Three New Zealand IT Companies.” HUMOR 21.3 (2008): 253-282.
    • Powell, Chris, and George Paton, eds. Humour in Society: Resistance and Control . Basingstoke, England: MacMillan, 1988.
    • Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. “On Joking Relationships.” Africa 13 (1940): 195-210.
    • Raskin, Victor, ed. The Primer of Humor Research . New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter, 2008.
  • 34.
    • Raskin, Victor. Semantic Mechanisms of Humor . Dordrecht, Netherlands: D. Reidel, 1985.
    • Sherzer, Joel. “On Play, Joking, Humor and Tricking in Kuna: The Agouti Story.” Journal of Folklore Research 27.1 (1990): 85-114.
    • Shiffman, Limor, Stephen Coleman, and Stephen Ward. “Only Joking? Online Humour in the 2005 UK General Election.” Information, Communication and Society 10.4 (2007): 465-487.
    • Sykes, A. J. M. “Joking Relationships in an Industrial Setting.” American Anthropologist 68 (1966): 188-193.
    • Walle, Alf. “Getting Picked Up Without Being Put Down: Jokes and the Bar Rush.” Journal of the Folklore Institute 13 (1976): 201-217.
    • Zenner, Walter P. “Joking and Ethnic Stereotyping.” Anthropological Quarterly 43.2 (1970): 93-113.