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 irony 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.
  • Edward de Bono in "The mechanism of the mind" and "I am right, you are wrong".

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.

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.

Mathematical jokes

Main article: Mathematical joke

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

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

  • Mathematical proof:
  • Logic

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

Yo' mama jokes

Main article: The dozens. Jokes of this kind originate in the dozens, an African-American custom with West African roots in which two competitors -- usually males -- go head to head in a competition of comedic, often ribald, trash-talk. The target of the traded insults is most often the opponents' mothers, but can involve other family members as well.

  • Yo mama's so dumb when your dad said it's chilly outside, she ran out with a spoon.
  • Yo mama so dark that she can leave fingerprints on charcoal.
  • Yo mama so fat when she gets on the scale it says to be continued.
  • Yo mama so fat, when her pager goes off, people think she's backing up.
  • Yo mama's glasses are so thick, she can see the future.

Political jokes

Political jokes tell about politicians and heads of states. There are two large categories of this type of jokes. 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.

Examples

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

The following joke circulates for quite some time, with many different versions for <President> and <Other Country>.


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The following joke circulates for quite some time, with many different versions for <President> and <Other Country>.
. A related subcategory is lawyer jokes plays on the commonly-held stereotypes about lawyers. Information on the wranglers in the period 1860-1940 can be extracted from the BritMath database. The second one makes fun of political cliches, mottos, catch phrases or simply blunders of politicians. Appendix A lists the top 10 wranglers from 1865 to 1909 with their coaches and their colleges. The first one makes fun of a negative attitude to political opponents or to politicians in general.
There is a very thorough account of the Cambridge system in the 19th century in.

There are two large categories of this type of jokes. Alfred Marshall was the commoner who came second to Rayleigh. Political jokes tell about politicians and heads of states. The story about Rayleigh comes from. The target of the traded insults is most often the opponents' mothers, but can involve other family members as well. Cambridge did not divide its examination classification in mathematics into 2:1s and 2:2s until 1995 but now there are Senior Optimes Division 1 and Senior Optimes Division 2. Main article: The dozens. Jokes of this kind originate in the dozens, an African-American custom with West African roots in which two competitors -- usually males -- go head to head in a competition of comedic, often ribald, trash-talk. Students who achieve second-class and third-class mathematics degrees are known as Senior Optimes (second-class) and Junior Optimes (third-class).

Jokes in a certain category superficially look like math, but their essence is more akin to chemical composition. Daniell who graduated in 1909. A series of them parodies mathematical/logical chains of reason. J. Many of them are in-jokes, but may also be understandable by laymen. The last official senior wrangler was P. There are numerous jokes related to mathematics. In the early 20th century, the order of merit was abolished and lists of students who had completed the mathematics exams were sorted alphabetically in each of the three classes of honours, and were not based on individual marks.

Main article: Mathematical joke. In 1865 Lord Rayleigh was senior wrangler and the Times of 30 January had a leader saying there was no reason to fear that he had gained this distinction through favoritism accorded to the heir to a peerage!. Many jokes fit into more than one category. The examination was the most important in Britain at the time, and the results were given great publicity. 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. At the time, women were not officially ranked, although they were told how they had done compared to the male candidates, so she was ranked "above the senior wrangler". 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. The first woman to top the maths list, albeit unofficially, was Philippa Fawcett, who took the exams in 1890.

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. However, it is certainly not true to say that top marks in the Cambridge mathematics exam guaranteed the senior wrangler success in life; the exams were largely a test of speed in applying familiar rules, and some of the most inventive and original students of Mathematics at Cambridge did not come top of their class (Hardy was 4th, Sedgwick 5th, Malthus was 9th and Keynes was 12th). Why we laugh has been the subject of serious academic study, examples being:. There has long been a culture of fierce competition at mathematics exams at Cambridge. . It is also suggested that the final exam required the students to write a proof of a theorem (which Kelvin himself had provided the proof for, earlier in the course); unfortunately, because he had created it, it hadn't occurred to him to learn it, and he spent a lot of time working it out from scratch - while the student who achieved Senior Wrangler put it down to having committed the proof to memory. 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 irony to elicit laughter from the audience. The servant returned and informed him, "You, sir!".

putting a custard pie in somebody's face). Legend has it that Kelvin was so confident that he had come top of the exam that he asked his servant to run to the Senate House and check who the second wrangler was. A practical joke differs in that the humour is not verbal, but mainly visual (e.g. Thomson and Lord Kelvin). 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. Interestingly, there are some equally if not more famous names associated with the rank of second wrangler (such as James Clerk Maxwell, J.J. Yo mama's glasses are so thick, she can see the future. John Couch Adams scored so well, that there was a greater gap between him and the second wrangler than between the second wrangler and the wooden spoon.

Yo mama so fat, when her pager goes off, people think she's backing up. Senior wranglers have included some of Britain's most brilliant scientists, including John Herschel, George Stokes and Lord Rayleigh. Yo mama so fat when she gets on the scale it says to be continued. . Yo mama so dark that she can leave fingerprints on charcoal. Last is (or was) the wooden spoon. Yo mama's so dumb when your dad said it's chilly outside, she ran out with a spoon. The highest-scoring student is named the "senior wrangler"; the second highest-scoring student is the "second wrangler"; the third highest is the "third wrangler", and so on.

Logic

. At the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, a wrangler is a student who has completed the third year (called Part II) of the Mathematical Tripos with first-class honours. Mathematical proof:
. BritMath. Edward de Bono in "The mechanism of the mind" and "I am right, you are wrong". ISBN 0226873749. Marvin Minsky in Society of Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sigmund Freud's "Jokes and Their Relationship to the Unconscious". Andrew Warwick (2003) Masters of Theory: Cambridge and the Rise of Mathematical Physics. ISBN 1858981514. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. A Soaring Eagle: Alfred Marshall 1842-1924.

Peter Groenewegen (2003).

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