Definition of Humour and types of Jokes

Definition of Humour and types of Jokes
What's joke ?

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).

Most jokes contain two components: joke setup (for example, "A man walks into a bar...") and a punchline, which, when juxtaposed with the setup, provides the necessary humour to elicit laughter from the audience.

Psychology of jokes:

Why we laugh has been the subject of serious academic study, examples being:

* Sigmund Freud's "Jokes and Their Relationship to the Unconscious".

* Marvin Minsky in Society of Mind.

Marvin suggests that laughter has a specific function related to the human brain. In his opinion jokes and laughter are mechanisms for the brain to learn Nonsense. For that reason, he argues, jokes are usually not as funny when you hear them repeatedly.

* Arthur Koestler, in The Act of Creation, analyzes humor and compares it to other creative activites, such as literature and science.

* Edward de Bono in "The mechanism of the mind" and "I am right, you are wrong".
Edward de Bono suggests that the mind is a pattern matching machine, and that it works by recognizing stories and behavior and putting them into familiar patterns. When a familiar connection is disrupted and an alternative unexpected new link is made in the brain via a different route than expected, then laughter occurs as the new connection is made. This theory explains a lot about jokes. For example:

* Why jokes are only funny the first time they are told: once they are told the pattern is already there, so there can be no new connections, and so no laughter.

* Why jokes have an elaborate and often repetitive set up: The repetition establishes the familiar pattern in the brain. A common method used in jokes is to tell almost the same story twice and then deliver the punch line the third time the story is told. The first two tellings of the story evoke a familiar pattern in the brain, thus priming the brain for the punch line.

* Why jokes often rely on stereotypes: the use of a stereotype links to familiar expected behavior, thus saving time in the set-up.

* Why jokes are variants on well known stories (eg the genie and a lamp): This again saves time in the set up and establishes a familiar pattern.

Laughter, the intended human reaction to jokes, is healthful in moderation, uses the stomach muscles, and releases endorphins, natural happiness-inducing chemicals, into the bloodstream.

One of the most complete and informative books on different types of jokes and how to tell them is Isaac Asimov's Treasury of Humor, which encompasses several broad categories of humor, and gives useful tips on how to tell them, who to tell them to, and ways to change the joke to fit your audience.

There is an investigative study that has been concluded also has answered some questions.

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:

Political jokes tell about politicians and heads of state. 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.


Q: A child, an honest politician, and Santa Claus all spot a $20 bill on the ground. Who picks it up?
A: The child. The other two are a figment of his wild imagination.

A couple are touring a graveyard when they spot a tombstone that reads "Here lies a politician and an honest man." The man says to the woman, "Look honey, there's two people in that grave."

A related subcategory is lawyer jokes plays on the commonly-held stereotypes about lawyers.

You're sitting in your riverfront office one day, when you see a lawyer and an IRS agent drowning. You can only save one of them. Do you (a) read the paper, or (b) go to lunch?

Q: What is the difference between a Lawyer and a hooker ?
A: The Hooker doesn't screw you when you're dead

A man walks into a pub and talks to his friend "I just had a divorce, lawyers are assholes.". A man stands up. "I object!". the divorcee asks; "What are you a lawyer?", he replies; "No. I'm an asshole."

The following joke circulates for quite some time, with many different versions for and .

One day Saddam Hussein went to see a fortune teller, and asked him, "When will I die?". The fortune teller said ,"On a Kurdish holiday". 'Hussein' asked, "Which one?" The fortune teller said, "It doesn't matter, any day you die will be made into a Kurdish holiday."

Medical jokes:

Bob: There's one thing you don't want a brain surgeon to say.

Bill: What's that?

Bob: Oops.

Mathematical jokes:

There are numerous jokes related to mathematics. Many of them are in-jokes, but may also be understood by laymen.

A series of them parodies mathematical/logical chains of reason.

* Mathematical proof:

Girls are time and money: girls = time * money;

but, time is money: time = money;

which implies: girls = money * money;

which implies: girls = money2;

but, money is the root of all evil: money = \sqrt{all\ evil};

which implies: money^2 = all\ evil;

therefore, all girls are evil: girls = all\ evil.

* Logic

Major Premise: Power corrupts;

Minor Premise: Knowledge is power;

Conclusion: Knowledge corrupts.

Jokes in a certain category superficially look like math, but their essence is more akin to chemical composition.

Smart man + smart woman = romance;

Smart man + dumb woman = affair;

Dumb man + smart woman = marriage;

Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy.

Self-deprecating humor:

Self-deprecating or self-effacing humor gives us the ability to laugh at ourselves; to make fun of our human foibles and maintain a sense of perspective. It is also powerful in defusing confrontations.

An example: "My aggression started when I was born. After jumping on a cool neat bungey rope, I landed into the arms of a doctor who turned me upside down and wacked me on the bum...the narcissist....Well I punched him in the nose and from then on I realised the world was a scary aggressive place. That's how I got into boxing"

Cultural examples:

Jewish culture includes a strong strain of self-deprecating humor. The egalitarian tradition was strong among the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe in which the powerful were often mocked subtly. Prominent members of the community were kidded during social gatherings, part a good-natured tradition of humor as a leveling device.

Examples can be found at Jewish humor.

Another class of self-deprecating jokes are told by folk of Scandinavian heritage about their own. This self-effacing humor comes, at least in part, from the strongly egalitarian sense permeating the cultural code in the Nordic countries. It was brought to America by emigrants from these countries, who frowned upon attempts to appear to elevate oneself or claim to be better or smarter than others.

Examples can be found at Ole and Lena.

Another variation, popular in Texas, is the "Aggie joke", where the character involves a student from Texas A&M University. Many of the punchlines are those involved in "dumb blonde" or other self-deprecating jokes. A variant is the "Aggie Strikes Back" joke, where the Aggie is the hero, usually at the expense of a "T-Sipper" (a student at the arch-rival University of Texas at Austin).

Political uses

Self-deprecating humor has long been used by politicians, who recognize its ability to acknowledge controversial issues and steal the punch of criticism. Examples abound.

Abraham Lincoln was accused of being two-faced. Lincoln replied, “If I had two faces, do you think this is the one I’d be wearing?”

President John Kennedy once read a fake telegram from his rich father, "Jack, Don't spend one dime more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I am going to pay for a landslide." This effectively stole the power of the accusation that his campaign was largely financed by his father.

Ronald Reagan’s most powerful tool was his self-deprecating humor. When his advanced age was used against him by Senator Mondale during the 1984 campaign, intentionally misunderstanding he quipped, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."


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

Q: What is black and white and read (red) all over?

A1: A newspaper. (The oldest and most common answer, because red is pronounced the same as read; this class of joke works only when spoken aloud so that which homophone is meant is misconstrued because of the inclusion of other colors. This is also related to Word play.)

A2: An embarrassed zebra. (This is funny primarily because most people are familiar with the older joke and expect the interpretation to be "read" rather than "red." See Why did the chicken cross the road? elsewhere on this page for more instances of the same phenomenon.)

A3: A skunk with a nosebleed. (A penguin, a nun,a zebra, or any likely wearer of a tuxedo can also be used in place of a skunk. Also "sunburn" can be used in place of "nosebleed.")

A4: A nun/penguin/business man in a blender.

A5: Two nuns/penguins/business men having a chainsaw fight.

A6: A nun/penguin/business man rolling down a hill.

...and so on.

Q: How do lamps communicate?
A: Lampost

Of this type are knock-knock joke, lightbulb joke, grape joke, Radio Yerevan, and some jokes of other types described here.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To get to the other side.

Although perhaps the most famous of all jokes in the English language, this joke is a Non-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 instead is referenced, modified, or parodied in a number of other jokes.

One of the many word-plays on the television series M*A*S*H was spoken by Hawkeye when the power-mad Frank Burns ordered the entire unit to move just a few dozen yards for no reason at all: "Why is this chicken outfit crossing the road?"

Q: Why did the turkey cross the road?
A: Because the chicken was on vacation.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road in Texas?
A: To show the armadillo/opossum how it's done.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?
A: To get to the same side.

In the film Stripes (done in march cadence):

Bill Murray: Why did the chicken cross the road?

(Platoon): To get from the left to the right!

Sometimes it is juxtaposed with another category of humor:

Blonde joke:

Q: Why did the blonde cross the road?

A: Because the chicken told her to!

Elephant jokes

Usually a riddle of the form "Why did the elephant...?", where the answer is ridiculously impossible. Often they are told in series, with later jokes making reference to, or even depending on, previous ones.


Q: Why did the elephant cross the road?
A: Because it was stuck to the chicken because of the law of absorption.

Q: How do you make an elephant float?
A: With two scoops of ice cream in a tall glass of elephant.

Q: Why did the elephant sit on the marshmallow?
A: So he wouldn't fall into the hot chocolate.

Part one Q: How do you fit four elephants in a Volkswagen?
A: Two in the front seat, two in the back.

Part two Q: How do you tell if there's an elephant in your refrigerator?
A: There are footprints in the peanut butter.

Part three Q: How do you tell if there are two elephants in your refrigerator?
A: There are two sets of footprints in the peanut butter.

Part four Q: How do you tell if there are three elephants in your refrigerator?
A: The door won't close.

Part five Q: How do you tell if there are four elephants in your refrigerator?
A: There's a Volkswagen parked out back.

Part one Q: How do you put an elephant in a refrigerator?
A: Open the door, put the elephant in, close the door.

Part two Q: How do you put a giraffe in a refrigerator?
A: Open the door, take the elephant out, put the giraffe in, close the door.

Part three Q: The lion, king of the jungle calls a conference in the forest. Which animal is not present?
A: The giraffe: it is in the fridge where you left it.

Part four Q: Two explorers are crossing a crocodile-infested swamp. How do they get across safely?
A: The crocodiles are at the conference in the forest.

“What’s the Difference” jokes

The joke is set up with the question "What's the difference between [two things that have apparently nothing in common]?", and the punch line is a pun or Spoonerism in the form "One is (…) and the other is (…)."


The set up: “What’s the difference between…

1. A Pulitzer Prize writer and a Utah carpenter?”

a. "One is Norman Mailer, and

b. One is a Mormon Nailer".

The teller can optionally omit the "...and the other one is..." half to allow the listener to apply the Spoonerism himself. This can enhance the impact of the joke, as well as allow the teller to avoid using off-color language in an all-ages setting. For example, author Daniel Handler was heard to tell the following "difference" jokes at a Seattle charity function in 2005:

Q: What's the difference between a blind sharpshooter and a constipated owl?
A: The blind sharpshooter shoots but cannot hit.

Q: What's the difference between a preacher at his pulpit and a woman in the tub?
A: The preacher's soul is full of hope.

Occasionally, the comic effect is based on role reversal or a false difference:

Q. What's the difference between and the Hindenburg?
A. One is a flaming Nazi gas bag, and the other was a dirigible.

Q. What's the difference between Jurassic Park and Microsoft?
A. One is huge place where big bloody carnivores show no mercy. The other is a film.

Q. What's the difference between Michael Jackson and a plastic bag?
A. One is made of plastic and is harmful to kids and the other carries your groceries.

Sometimes the comic effect is derived from the confusion over a non-sensical version of the joke:

Q. What's the difference between a duck?
a. One of its legs are both the same!

Q. What's the difference between a duck?
a. Because a snake has no armpits!

Also, some jokes give the opposite answer than expected:

Q: What's the difference between Michael Jackson and a ghost?
A: One's pale and scares kids during the night, and the other's a spook.

Jokes that require two people

These are double act jokes that need a straight man to give a predictable response to the person telling the joke.

Person 1: My dog has no nose.

Person 2: How does he smell?

Person 1: Awful.

Person 1: Did you hear about that actress who got stabbed? Reese... Reese something.

Person 2: Witherspoon?

Person 1: No, with her knife.

A significant subset of this kind of joke, geography jokes, is based around puns with geographical names.


1: I stubbed my foot on a recent visit to an Indonesian volcano.

2: Krakatoa? (Crack a toe-a?)

1: Yeah, bloody painful it was.

1: I had some dodgy ungulate cuisine when I was last in Pakistan.

2: Islamabad? (Is llama bad?)

1: Tough as old boots.

1: The wife and I took a caravan holiday to Poole.

2: In Dorset? (Endorse it?)

1: Yes, I'd thoroughly recommend it.

Dirty jokes

Humor in dirty jokes is based on taboo, e.g., sexual, content or vocabulary. Many dirty jokes are also sexist. Many jokes from other categories are dirty.

The effect of the dirty joke may be enhanced by the addition of further taboos, as in the subgenre of nun jokes.

* Two nuns are riding bicycles down a cobblestone street. The first says "I've never come this way before", to which the other replies, "must be the cobblestones".

Another subgenre is that of unmet expectations, in which the joke is the absence of the dirty content which the audience has been led to expect in one way or another.

* There was an old farmer who sat on a rick / Laughing and waving his big hairy...fist.

This joke is funny because the last word of the second line is expected to rhyme with the last word of the first. In such jokes, a dramatic pause is usually made before the punch word ("fist", in this case). Similarly:

* You remember Annette from the Mickey Mouse Club? She was the one with the big... ears!

Another example is this:

* Person 1: Do you want to hear a dirty joke?

* Person 2: Sure.

* Person 1: I fell in the mud.

In this joke, the second person expects to hear a joke like the nun joke earlier on this page, but instead the first person says they fell in the mud, which would make them dirty.

A variant of this joke relates to the Japanese. Person 1: What do you call a Japanese who falls in the mud? Person 2: What? Person 1: A dirty Jap.

This is in reference to the discriminating name many Japanese were called during WWII.

Sick jokes

A subgenre of jokes that derive their humor simply from violating taboos and being so blatantly offensive in their subject matter that (for some) the situation becomes funny, not macabre.

One example of such a joke is The Aristocrats, which dates back to Vaudeville.

The phrase "sick jokes" appeared in the New York Times on October 9, 1958, when a football columnist noted that "those macabre 'sick jokes' that appeal to the younger generation are popping up in football quotes." An October 26 article on How These Joke Cycles Start, indicates that the "sick joke" genre was already well in progress. The columnist gives an example:

Child: "Mommy, when are we going to reach Europe?"
Mother: "Shut up and keep swimming."


Child: "Mommy, when are we getting a real bin?"
Mother: "Shut up and keep eating."

He states that "This body of humor first crawled out from under a stone in London five years ago when several British actors outlined plans for a never-to-be-produced show called The Bad Taste Review." In 1959 a Times columnist opined that "the tide of 'sick jokes' may be ebbing but Tom Lehrer's 'sick songs' are still at flood."

Tragedy jokes

A morbid type of joke, "gallows humor", that makes fun of tragic situations, either a disaster or to an individual. Some examples include the many jokes that circulated about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster; the fatal auto accident of Princess Diana; and the September 11, 2001 attacks. While offensive on their face, such jokes can also be a coping mechanism.

The clue to that theory is that the jokes around the Challenger usually centered around the one civilian, Christa McAuliffe, whose loss was presumably the most keenly felt by the general public. Example: Q: Why did Christa McAuliffe not take a shower before the launch? A: She said she would wash up on the beach later.

Dead body jokes

The 1980s and 1990s saw the vogue of the "dead body" joke, 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. Others derive their humor from the implication that the teller knows from personal experience. The jokes took a new, more offensive, twist in the 1980s by changing "dead body" to "dead baby." Like most jokes, they are funnier when they are told rather than read:

Q: How do you get a dozen dead babies into a bowl?
A: Use a blender.

Q: How do you get them out?
A: Tortilla chips.

Q: Whats the difference between 100 dead babies and a Mercedes Benz?
A: I don't have a Mercedes Benz in my garage.

Q: Whats worse than nailing 100 babies to 1 tree?
A: Nailing 1 baby to 100 trees!

Q: How do you make a dead baby float?
A1: A glass of root beer, two scoops of ice cream, one scoop of dead baby.
A2: Take your foot off its head.

A variant on this is the leper joke:

Q: Why did the leper go back into the shower?
A: He forgot his Head and Shoulders.

Q: What did the leper say to the hooker?
A: You can keep the tip.

Little Johnny jokes

Main article: Little Johnny

Little Johnny jokes are about a small boy who likes to ask innocent questions and has a very straightforward thinking. At times he is all too well educated in the terminology of sex, then he is known as "Dirty Johnny", while at others he is all too innocent. He also has cousins across the world: Dirty Ernie, Spanish Jaimito, Mexican Pepito, Colombian Juanito and Benito, Portuguese and Brazilian Joãozinho, Russian Vovochka, Czech Pepícek, Italian Pierino, Estonian Juku, Slovenian Janezek, German Fritzchen, Greek Totós (??tó?), Albanian Çimi, Finnish Pikku-Kalle, Croatian Ivica, Hungarian Móricka, Romanian Bula, Dutch Jantje, French Toto, Polish Jasiu and Indian Chintu.

* Ms. Smith stopped to reprove Johnny for making faces: "Johnny, when I was small, my mother used to tell me that if I made ugly faces, at some moment it would freeze and stay like that". Johnny looked up at her and thoughtfully replied: "Well, Ms. Smith, you can't say you weren't forewarned."

* The teacher asks everyone in the class to demonstrate something exciting. When Johnny's turn came, he walked to the blackboard and drew a small dot. "What's that?", the teacher asked, puzzled. "It's a period."—"Well, I see that, but what's exciting about a period?"—"Darned if I know, but this morning my sister said she missed one... Dad had a heart attack, mom fainted, and the guy next door shot himself."

* A new teacher wanted to make use of her psychology skills at a new class she was teaching. Once the class had stopped talking she said to the students "If you think you are not smart, then please stand up". After a lengthy pause, little Johnny rose. "Do you think you are stupid, Johnny?" the teacher asked. "No, ma'am. I hate to see you standing up there all alone" he replied.

Ethnic jokes

An ethnic joke relies for humorous effect on peculiarities of a particular ethnicity, real or imaginary. It may or may not be the same as ethnic humor, which is humor particular to a certain ethnic group or culture. Many ethnic jokes rely on stereotypes about particular ethnicities, often those from different (neighbour) nations or minorities. For example, Canadians tell jokes about Newfies(from the province of Newfoundland). People in Ireland tell jokes about people from County Kerry, while people from Kerry tell jokes about people from County Cork. 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, 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 the even more generic moron) 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.

Many ethnic jokes appear in several cultures with nothing changed except the group being disparaged. For example, many American jokes are about Canadians or Poles, Canadian jokes about Newfoundlanders, British jokes about the Irish, Iranian jokes about Turks in Iran Australian jokes about the British and New Zealanders, New Zealand jokes about Australians, Brazilian jokes about the Portuguese, Portuguese jokes about both the Brazilian and African people, especially Mozambican and Angolan people, Russian jokes about Chukchi, Greek jokes about Pontian Greeks, Indian jokes about Sikhs are identical except for the ethnic group which is the subject of the joke.

A traditional British form of ethnic joke starts "An Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotsman..." (sometimes called Paddy the Englishman, Paddy the Scotsman and Paddy the Irishman in Irish versions of the joke; Paddy the Irishman generally delivers the punch line) and may go on to make fun of any of the three by comparison with the other two. Very similar form exists in Russian humor, where the lackadaisical Russian guy is portrayed against two other nationalities from a small stereotype subset, e.g. French for amorousness, Chukchi for naive simplicity, German for prudishness, Georgian for brute virility, Ukrainian for greed, etc.

A notable case is Jewish jokes. The form may be unusual in many languages, using slang words from the Jewish community and a peculiar Yiddish/German construction of phrases. A quote from Martin Grotjahn sums up Jewish humor neatly: "One can almost see how a witty Jewish man carefully and cautiously takes a sharp dagger out of his enemy's hands, sharpens it until it can split a hair in midair, polishes it until it shines, stabs himself with it, and hands it back to his enemy with the silent reproach: Now see whether you can do it half as well." See "Jewish humor" for more.

Asian languages and names have been subject to puns like: "Hu Yu Hai Ding: We have reason to believe you are harboring a fugitive"; "Wai Yu Shao Ting: There is no reason to raise your voice".


An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman all order a beer in a pub. The Englishman's beer has a fly in it, so he orders a new one. The Irishman's beer also has a fly in it, so he picks it up and flicks it away. The Scotsman's beer also has a fly in it, so he picks it up and shouts, "Alright yah wee fucker, spit it out!"

How do Asian parents name their children? They throw silverware down the stairs. (a reference to names like "Wong", "Ping", "Dong", "Chang")

- What do you call three white people pushing a car up a hill?
- White power.
- What do you call three Hispanics pushing a car up a hill?
- Grand Theft Auto.
- What do you call two Chinamen ringing a church bell?
- Ding Dong
- How do you get a black out of a tree?
- Cut the rope
- What do you call a Japanese girl who falls in the mud?
- A dirty Jap.

Sexist jokes
A sexist joke is one that expresses the sexist belief that one gender or sex is somehow superior to the other. These are usually told nowadays in conjunction with the Sick Joke category, meaning that they are not intended to be funny because the speaker holds that opinion, but that they are funny for the shock value.

Q: What do you say to a women with two black eyes?
A: Nothing. You warned the bitch twice already.

Q: Why was the women crossing the road?

Waits for an attempt to reply form the audience.
A: That's not the point, why was the bitch out of the kitchen in the first place?

Disability jokes

Some jokes make fun of disabilities or people with disabilities. Many such jokes refer to Helen Keller, who was deaf, blind and mute. The subject in the jokes referring to blindness is often another famous blind person, such as Stevie Wonder. There is a series of jokes about disabilities in Russian jokes. Most popular themes being mental hospital and dystrophy, which may be attributed to the history of political persecution in Soviet Union, where dystrophy was a natural state of inmates in Gulag labor camps, while mental hospitals ("psikhushka") were widely used for confinement of dissidents.


Q: How did Helen Keller's parents punish her?
A1: They rearranged the furniture!
A2: They put doorknobs on her bedroom walls!
A3: They took her outside!

Q: Why did nobody hear her?
A: She was wearing mittens.

Q: What did Helen Keller say after running her hands over a cheese grater?
A: That was the most violent book I ever read.

* An inspector comes to a mental hospital and sees the patients diving into an empty pool head-first. "What are they doing?" he asks the nurse. "The chief psychiatrist promised to fill the pool with water when they learn to dive safely."

* A lecturer visits the mental hospital and gives a lecture about how great communism is. Everybody claps loudly except for one person who keeps quiet. The lecturer asks: "why aren't you clapping?" and the person replies "I'm not a psycho, I work here."

* "Distrophiks" are playing hide and seek in the hospital. "Ivan, where are you?" / "I'm here, behind this broomstick!" "Hey, didn't we have an arrangement not to hide behind thick objects?"

* A life-long wheel chair ridden man is sitting by the Grand Canyon when three women notice him and pity his situation. They walk over and ask him if there is anything he would like. Sensing the opportunity he replies: "I've never been hugged.", The first woman hugs him. Then he turns to the second and continues: "I've never been kissed." The second lady gently kisses his cheek. Becoming more adventurous he turns to the third; "I've never been fucked." She hasitates then turns him over and throws his wheel chair off the cliff and replies: "Now you're fucked."

Offensive racial jokes

Often, racist speech can be encapsulated in the form of a joke, which many would find offensive.


Q: What do you call 10,000 dead black people at the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start.

Q: What word starts with "N," ends with "R," and you don't want to call a black person?
A: "Neighbor."

Though some of these jokes may qualify as hate speech, other times they are told simply for the shock effect.

Less offensive versions

Sometimes, jokes that may be considered racist and sexist, and they can be adapted in such a way as to remove the offensive content. This is especially true when the specific race or sex is portrayed as incredibly stupid. In these cases, they may be told involving a blonde or a generic "stupid person" instead of the race or sex in question.

When a trait besides intellect is the topic of the joke, a less offensive adaptation may still be possible. Take, for example, this joke:

Q: A Jewish man has an erection, and he runs right into a brick wall. What does he say?
A: "Ow, Pinochio!"

In this form, the joke is reliant on the stereotype of Jewish men having large noses. However, if the man is replaced with Cyrano de Bergerac, some of the humor arguably remains intact without the use of racial stereotypes.

Blonde jokes

Blonde jokes are a class of jokes which make light of the stereotype of the blonde woman (or, more rarely, blond man) as unintelligent, sexually promiscuous, or both. Like all humor based on stereotypes, blonde jokes are found offensive by some people. However, they tend not to be as controversial as racial humor or other forms of dark comedy. Many are, in fact, variations on racist jokes that have been adapted specifically to make them less offensive.

A British variant of the blonde joke is the Essex girl joke, which became popular in the late 1980s, and satirizes working-class girls from the county of Essex.

Jokes about animals

Jokes about animals have signs of fable. The animals, which live in the forest, behave like humans. They are depicted with human properties. A fox is usually clever, a bear strong, and a hare astute and cheeky.


* Fox, hare, and bear play cards. Bear says, "If anybody cheats, I will smash his face. His small, red face."

* Bear and Hare are sitting in the woods doing No. 2's. Bear ask Hare, "Do you find that the poo sticks to your fur?" Hare says, "Yes, why?" The bear picks up the hare and wipes his butt with him.

Shaggy dog stories and the Monk Joke

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".

The Monk joke is another joke which is only humorous for the teller. It usually starts with an explorer coming across a monastery where he hears a beautiful sound, and asks a monk what is making the sound. The monk then explains to the man that he is not allowed to tell him, because he is not a monk. Similarly to the shaggy dog joke, the narrator then jumps into an extremely lengthy story about the man's struggle to become a monk and find out what makes the sound, which he always succeeds in towards the end of the story. The puzzled audience will then ask what made the sound, to which the narrator will reply, "I can't tell you, you're not a monk!"

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.


* Bureaucracy: You have two cows. The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, charges you for the milk, and then pours it down the drain.

* Canadianism: You have two cows. Vous avez deux vaches.(You have two cows in french)

* Capitalism: You have two cows. A big cattle company ousts you off the business. You sell your cows and work for the big business. The older punch line, truer to the American ideal, was "You sell one and buy a bull." Addendum, by Pat Paulsen: Then put them both in your wife's name and declare bankruptcy.

* Communism: You have two cows. Everyone shares all the cows and everyone is equal. If you happen to be in charge of everyone's cows (ie Hu Jintao, you own more of the cows than everyone else, because you are more equal than they are.

* Democracy: You have two cows. They outvote you 2-1 to ban all meat and dairy products.

* Death: You have two cows. Both die.

* Dyslexia: You have two swoc.

* European Federalism: You have two cows which you cannot afford to keep because of milk imported from a member state with cheaper labour. So you apply for financial aid from the European Union to subsidise your cows and are granted enough to carry on working them. You then sell your milk at the original high price to some government-owned distributor which then dumps your milk onto the market at the price that drove you to subsidies to make Europe competitive.

* Fascism: You have two cows. State takes both of them and sell you milk.

* Treason: You have two cows. You gas them both for running away.

* Hamas: You have two cows. If you don't remove them from our land, we'll blow them up.

* Lesbian: You have two cows. They make love to each other.

* Scientology: You have two cows. Sell their milk so that you can go for more auditing.

* Socialism: You have two cows. State takes one and give it to someone else.

* Surrealism: You have two ostriches. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

Duck jokes

Duck jokes are a particular breed of animal jokes that almost invariably begin, "A duck walks into a bar...." The followup can be as simple as "...and said, 'Ow, that hurts!'" or as complex as this very old joke:

A duck walks into a bar. The bartender is a bit surprised as the duck hops onto the bar and asks, "Do you have any gwapes?" The bartender says, "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't." Dejected, the duck hops off the bar and waddles out. The next night, the very same duck walks into the bar. He hops onto the bar and asks, "Do you have any gwapes?" The bartender shouts, "Look, Duck, I told you last night that we don't have any grapes! Now get out of here, and if you come back tomorrow night and ask for grapes, I'll nail your beak to the bar with a hammer!" Terrified, the duck scampers out of the bar. The next night, the bartender warily eyes the door as the duck walks into the bar. The duck carefully climbs onto the bar and asks, "Do you have a hammer?" The bartender shouts, "No! Of course I don't have a hammer!" So the duck asks, "Do you have any gwapes?"

Or this one: A duck walked into an apothecary and said, "Give me some chapstick, and put it on my bill!"

Religion in jokes

There are many categories of jokes on religious subjects.

* Jokes based on stereotypes associated with people of religion. An example is the whole genre of Nun jokes.

* Jokes on classical religious subjects: crucifixion, Adam and Eve, St. Peter at The Gates, etc.

* Jokes that collide different religious nominations: "A rabbi, a medicine man, and a pastor went fishing..."

* Letters and addresses to God.

The magazine The Door describes itself as "The World's Pretty Much Only Religious Satire Magazine." Readers of Ship of Fools realise this is a bit of a joke.

Dad Jokes

Dad jokes are typically told to children by their fathers, and are characterised by their inherent 'groan factor'. According to Australian media personality Richard Glover, Dad Jokes are a special form of humour. "They're marked by two distinctive features: a) not funny in the first place and b) become even less funny via endless repetition."
* "Well, here's my dinner - but what are the rest of you going to eat" (upon the large piece of roast beef being placed in the centre of the table)

* "You know people are just dying to get in there." (when driving past a cemetery)

Book jokes

Book jokes are a type of joke in which you make up a book title, and then make an author that sounds like a word, or set of words, that relates to the title. For instance; My Life of Crime by Robin Banks, or How I Fell off the Cliff by Eileen Dover. Also, book jokes could be used to a more pop-culture perspective by titling the book to a celebrity that would never write a book like that and sometimes putting them under a category together. For instance: Shortest Book Ever Written- My Book of Morals by Bill Clinton or The Amish People's Phone Book.

Yo' Momma jokes

Yo' Momma jokes are a type of joke that insult someone's mother. They often imply that the mother is either obese or has performed sexual favors for the creator of the joke. Yo' Momma jokes have also been overused and sometimes are used randomly to be funny.

Example: "Your momma's so fat, she walked past the TV and I missed two shows!"

Your momma's so fat, she has to put her belt on with a boomerang!

Yo momma's so fat, she creates a new time zone, and she has 5 new planets orbiting around her.
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