Saturday, March 19, 2016

Categories of Jokes

Did you know that there are seven types of jokes according to the boundary they transgress?
This classification is shown in the table bellow, accompanied by a somewhat unsystematic but rather exhaustive review of many of the themes or "humorous scripts" that occur within each category.

1. Sexuality and gender

A. Ambiguity and innuendo; B. being over-sexed/promiscuity; C. asexuality/frigidity; D. celibacy; E. adultery; F. marriage (marriage as a mistake; authority relationships within marriage); G. sexual achievements & size; H. prostitution; I. (apparent) naiveté; J. homosexuality; K. rape; L. incest; M. pedophilia; N. bestiality & sex with animals; O. ugly women & old maids: sex and aging; etc.

2. Shortcomings and social deviance

Jokes about uncivilized, unusual, maladjusted or incompetent behavior, such as: A. stupidity; B. craziness; C. drunkenness; D. childishness; E. laziness; F. criminality; G. aggression; H. impoliteness; I. absent-mindedness; J. impaired speech; K. unusual appearance; L. filthiness; M. stench; N. naiveté; O. cowardliness; P. gluttony; Q. incomplete control of bodily functions; R. all sorts of lacking talent and incompetence.

3. Sickness, suffering and death

A. Sickness; B. infirmities and handicaps; C. accidents & disasters (9/11 jokes, hurricane jokes); D. blood and mutilation; E. castration; F. famine; G. public scandals (e.g. Marc Dutroux); H. horror stories; I. war (Second World War jokes; holocaust jokes; Hitler jokes).

4. Religion

A. Blasphemy; B. Godly interference and punishment; C. hypocrisy; D. after-life; E. celibacy; F. clergymen; G. breaking religious commandments.

5. Money and wealth

A. Poverty; B. richness; C. miserliness; D. covetousness; E. business acumen; F. prodigality; G. cunning ways of getting money.

6. Power and authority

Role reversals: A. superior & inferior, B. civilian & law enforcer, C. child & adult; D. jokes upwards: politicians, Royal House, celebrities; E. jokes downwards: inferiors, servants, laborers.

7. Stereotypes and relations with others [usually combined with one of the categories listed above]

Stereotyping (see 2 and 6): A. Cultural rivalry and superiority; B. attitude jokes; C. insulting the audience; D. put-down jokes (insulting a scapegoat to establish a good rapport with the audience); E. aggression and violence. Primarily ethnic, also, for instance, farmers, blonds, mothers-in-law, politicians, etc.

(Based on "Good Humor, Bad Taste: A Sociology of the Joke", by Giselinde Kuipers)

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