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More about jokes ...
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. A practical joke differs in that the humour is not verbal, but mainly visual (e.g. putting a custard pie in somebody's face).
Jokes are performed either in a staged situation in front of an audience, or informally for the entertainment of participants and onlookers. The desired response is generally laughter, although loud groans are a common response to some forms such as puns and shaggy dog stories.
Types of jokes ...
Jokes often depend for humour on the unexpected, the mildly taboo (which can include the distasteful or socially improper), or the playing on stereotypes and other cultural myths. Many jokes fit into more than one category.
Political jokes are usually a form of satire. They generally concern politicians and heads of state, but may also cover the absurdities of a country's political situation. Two large categories of this type of jokes exist. The first one makes fun of a negative attitude to political opponents or to politicians in general. The second one makes fun of political cliches, mottos, catch phrases or simply blunders of politicians. Some, especially the you have two cows genre, derive humor from comparing different political systems. The biggest problem with political jokes tends to be that they get elected.
Professional humor includes caricatured portrayals of certain professions such as lawyers, and in-jokes told by professionals to each other (e.g. Medical humor).
Mathematical jokes are a form of in-joke, generally designed to be understandable only by insiders.
Jokes can be country specific; humor by nationality. For example there are many israeli jokes and irish jokes.
Ethnic jokes exploit racial stereotypes. They are often racist and frequently offensive. Ethnic jokes are common, for example:
Racially offensive humor is increasingly unaccaptable, but there are similar jokes based on other stereotypes such as blonde jokes.
Religious jokes fall into several categories:
Self-deprecating humor has also been used by politicians, who recognize its ability to acknowledge controversial issues and steal the punch of criticism - for example, when Abraham Lincoln was accused of being two-faced he replied, "If I had two faces, do you think this is the one I’d be wearing?".
Dirty jokes are based on taboo, often sexual, content or vocabulary. Many dirty jokes are also sexist.
Other taboos are challenged by sick jokes and gallows humor; to joke about disability is considered in this group.
Surrealist or minimalist jokes exploit cognitive dissonance, for example: Q: What's red and invisible? A: No tomatoes..
The question / answer joke, sometimes posed as a common riddle, has a supposedly straight question and an answer which is twisted for humorous effect; puns are often employed. Of this type are knock-knock joke, lightbulb joke, the many variations on "why did the chicken cross the road?", and the class of "What's the difference between..." joke, where the punch line is often a pun or a spoonerism linking two apparently entirely unconnected concepts.
Some jokes require a double act, where one respondent (usually the straight man) can be relied on to give the correct response to the person telling the joke. This is more common in performance than informal joke-telling.
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. The longer the story can continue without the audience realising it is a joke, and not a serious anecdote, the more successful it is. 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".
A study has determined theOfficial World's Funniest Joke!